China’s effort to stop the Three Brotherhood Alliance’s attack against the Myanmar military junta in Northern Shan State seems unlikely to succeed as they are gaining momentum.
The Three Brotherhood Alliance which consists of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Arakan Army (AA) launched a series of coordinated offensives known as “Operation 1027” against the military junta in late October in northern Shan State.
According to the reports, the joint operation of the Three Brotherhood Alliance has seized weapons, equipment, and key border posts with over 150 military posts and control of significant towns falling into their hands. Key roads like the Muse-Namkham Road and Lashio-Laukkhai Road are also under their control.
At the time being, the MNDAA continues to advance in the Kokang region, while the TNLA targets the military’s strategic base in Namkham Township, a border town that the TNLA claims as part of its autonomous state.
According to reports, China is said to be providing support for this joint operation, leveraging the opportunity to crack down on online scam syndicates in the region. Now, the ringleaders of telecommunication network fraud have been killed, arrested, and handed over to the Chinese authority.
Therefore, China has urged the Three Brotherhood Alliance to cease conflicts and engage in negotiations with the Myanmar military. It is because the conflicts have a huge impact on China’s economy. The violence has severely affected cross-border trade, harming projects associated with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, including gas and oil pipelines. According to reports, cross-border commerce has been disrupted by at least 40%.
It is clear that China’s call for an end to the fighting reflects its concerns about the economic repercussions, raising questions about whether the Three Brotherhood Alliance will comply with the order and enter negotiations with the military. In the meantime, the military faces the challenge of retaining control after losing numerous posts. The Shan armies must navigate the landscape as these ethnic armed groups get stronger and expand their territories. This unfolding situation suggests urgently important questions about the future dynamics of the conflict and its broader consequences.