Myanmar Risks Clash With China Along Restive Border

Mar 18, 2015 | 08:51 GMT

Myanmar Risks Clash with China Along Restive Border
A Myanmar military helicopter flies above Lashio in February of 2015.

(Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)


On March 13, an errant Myanmar air force strike killed five Chinese citizens in China's Yunnan province across the border from Myanmar's Shan state. The Myanmar aircraft had been targeting ethnic Kokang insurgents in rebel-controlled territory as part of clashes that began Feb. 9. The terrain along the China-Myanmar border is rugged and porous with identical ethnic groups on either side. In recent years, fighting between the Myanmar government and insurgent groups has periodically pushed refugees over the border into Yunnan province. But ordnance landing on Chinese territory is a different matter. The recent incident was the second in less than a week, and in response, Beijing has strengthened its border air defenses. The move raises the risk of a military exchange between the People's Liberation Army and Myanmar forces in spite of the desire by both countries to avoid a military confrontation.

The Myanmar government's ongoing push against ethnic Kokang militants could lead to military confrontation with Chinese forces -- something neither side wants....

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