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China starts live-fire drills near Myanmar border

Originally appeared in Bangkok - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

June 2, 2015

By Anthony Davis

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has begun a series of live-fire exercises close to the Myanmar border: a move that underscores the increasingly fractious relations between the two countries.

Beginning with little prior notice on 2 June, the exercises have been reported in the Chinese media to involve both ground forces and aerial assets, and are being held in Zhenkang and Gengma prefectures of Yunnan province.

Zhenkang is situated immediately opposite the Kokang special region where Myanmar government forces, or Tatmadaw, have been struggling to push back ethnic-Chinese insurgents that Naypyidaw has repeatedly implied are being supported from China.

Gengma, to the south, is opposite Myanmar territory controlled by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which maintains a ceasefire with the Tatmadaw but which the government has accused of directly supporting the Kokang and other insurgents in the country’s north.

 

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