Myanmar issues rebuke over US' ethnic turmoil concerns
AFPYANGON -- Myanmar issued a rebuke to the United States Embassy in Yangon on Saturday after the U.S. raised concerns over continued fighting between the army and ethnic rebels in the northern state of Kachin.
January 27, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
The Myanmar foreign ministry accused the U.S. statement, issued on Thursday, of only presenting one side of the bloody conflict, which has continued despite a government announcement of a unilateral cease-fire earlier this month.
Myanmar said the U.S. release “could cause misunderstanding in the international community,” in a response printed in the state-run English language newspaper New Light of Myanmar.
It said the statement suggested “only the Myanmar Government and the Tatmadaw (army) launched the offensive” and “did not mention anything about terrorist actions and atrocities committed” by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Kachin state since June 2011, when a 17-year cease-fire between the government and the KIA broke down. The conflict has resulted in civilian casualties, although the exact number killed is unclear.
The U.S. on Thursday cited media and aid agency reports that the Myanmar military had continued its offensive close to the KIA headquarters on the border with China.
It said Washington “strongly opposes the ongoing fighting” and urged both sides to work towards “sustainable peace.”
Beijing also this week urged a cease-fire after vice foreign minister Fu Ying visited Myanmar for talks with President Thein Sein, according to China foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei. He said the pair had agreed to maintain peace and stability on their shared border.
Chinese state-run media has reported that officials in China's Yunnan province are planning camps for 10,000 people in case large numbers flee across the frontier to escape the Kachin fighting.