The meeting with Mr Sun Guoxiang is at the World Trade Center (WTC). “I hope no airplane hits the building while we’re talking,” somebody quips as we enter it.
The meeting lasts 3 hours. Here’s the gist of what he says about China’s policy on Burma:
- Fighting does not benefit anyone. That’s what I’ve been telling both the Northern Alliance and the government
- At the same time, we respect Burma’s sovereignty. We will never be the judge deciding who’s right and who’s wrong
- We want every EAO in the peace process
- We want everyone to sign the NCA
- However we shall not force our will on anyone (to sign the NCA)
- At the same time, it should not be forgotten that China was one of the witness signatories to the NCA (on 15 October 2015)
- If the EAOs wish to hold meetings in China, we shall be happy to host them with prior approval from Naypyitaw
We also learn from Saw Tamula, Gen Mutu’s assistant, that the UWSA has replied it is pretty much preoccupied to spare time to meet us.
We then pack our bags to fly to Mangshi and then by road to Laiza. But there is a flight delay again. (Gen N’Ban La explains to us later that Chinese fighters have been busy patrolling along the border since fighting broke out between the Burma Army and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) again late January. As a result, civilian planes have been warned to take extra caution to make sure the sky is clear before flying.)
We are received by KIO officer Shan Long who treats us to a sumptuous dinner at a Shan restaurant. He tells us it’ll be too late for us to cross the border and we will have to put up at Yinjiang, two hours drive away, for the night.
We get into Yinjiang, known to Shans as Mongna Zanta, one of the 16 extinct Shan principalities in China. The hotel we stay, Bianchui, is also owned by a Shan.
One of our friends, Sai Kham Htoon, who now lives in Bangkok, hails from here.