Deng Xijun, China’s new special envoy to Burma, met late last year in Yunnan Province with leaders of seven ethnic armed organisations that are part of the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee.
Nyi Rang, the head of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) Liaison Office in Lashio, said the meeting was mainly a meet and greet, but admitted that he did not know exactly what they talked about.
The leaders of the UWSA, Kachin Independence Army, National Democratic Alliance Army, Shan State Progress Party, Arakan Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army were all present. Several of the armed groups are fighting the military regime.
SSPP spokesperson Maj Phone Han was unable to provide details about the meeting when pressed, but SHAN was able to independently confirm that the meeting was held in Simao District.
Political analysts speculated that China wanted to meet ethnic leaders to discuss their positions on the elections, which the regime said would be held sometime this year.
Than Soe Naing said China has the largest investment in Burma and will closely monitor current political affairs, especially regarding the military and the 2023 national elections.
“The National Unity Government and the People’s Defence Forces have already announced that they will launch a counter-offensive against Burma military…After China replaced its old special envoy…they want to understand detailed information about the situation in Burma.”
Deng Xijun was the Chinese ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations until November 2022, when he succeeded Sun Guoxiang as special envoy to Burma.