After multiple rounds of postponement, Myanmar finally held the Fourth Union Peace Conference (UPC) from August 19 to 21. More than two years had passed since the Third UPC, despite the National League for Democracy (NLD) government’s original plan to convene the UPC every six months. Despite the low expectations for concrete progress and deliverables from the Fourth UPC, the conference arguably provided much-needed direction for the future of the peace process beyond the general elections this November.
The Fourth UPC was also notable for the absence of several ethinc groups that had previously been nudged to attend by China. Beijing has been an indispensable and significant player in Myanmar’s peace process. However, during this election year, the civil-military dynamics in Myanmar, developments in Rakhine state, and great power competition are all complicating China’s role in the peace process at this juncture.
Read the full article in The Diplomat Magazine.