KACHIN STATE, Myanmar — In early March, Myanmar’s government sat down with a coalition of ethnic rebel groups, including the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), trying to jump-start peace negotiations that had sputtered out after months of escalating fighting. The meeting had been brokered by China, keen to quell the conflict along its southwestern border.
However, Yun Sun, a senior researcher at the Stimson Center in Washington, cautioned that rather than manipulating the peace process, “China is actually afraid of being drawn too deeply into this conflict. It wants peace on its border, open trade, and continued influence with Myanmar at the expense of Western governments, but it does not want to become a signatory to a peace deal it cannot guarantee and that could damage its commercial relationships with Myanmar, if Myanmar felt it was taking the rebels’ side.”
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