Myanmar has always been a friend of China in South Asia. But that friendly country, Myanmar, accuses China of helping militant groups with firearms and money.
Myanmar's army chief has called for international help in curbing terrorism.
He accused China of arming terrorist groups like Arakan Army (AA) and Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and has sought international help to suppress them.
In a recent interview to Russian state-run TV channel Zvezda, Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Min Aung Hlaing said that terrorist groups active in country were backed by ‘strong forces’. Seeking international help to suppress them the senior general said that terrorists had used China-made weapons while attacking the military in 2019.
China is supplying funds and sophisticated weaponry to armed groups in Myanmar and the Naypyitaw-designated terrorist group, the Arakan Army, to have leverage over Myanmar and India, Licas News reported.
Huge cache of Chinese weapons seized in 2019
In November 2019, Myanmar’s military recovered huge cache of weapons including surface-to-air missiles from the banned Ta’ang National Liberation Army after which military spokesperson Major General Tun Tun Nyi declared that most of the weapons seized were “Chinese weapons”.
This allegation of China funding terror groups in South-East Asia is not new.
A military source with experience in South-East Asia confirmed to Licas News that China is providing approximately 95 per cent of Arakan Army funding adding that the Arakan Army has approximately 50 of the MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems) surface-to-air missiles.
China wants Myanmar to remain weak & poor
“China is playing a multi-dimensional game in South Asia. China wants to weaken India. India is in a war with Pakistan and does not want to make a new enemy of Myanmar,” said an Australian academic.
A diplomat posted in the region said that seven different groups in Myanmar have received Chinese arms and support adding that the Chinese want to keep the West away from Myanmar by keeping the country weak with a poor humanitarian record.
Arakan Army is the largest terrorist group in the Rakhine state of Myanmar and is the armed wing of the political party, United League of Arakan (ULA).
Terrorists don’t get weapons from China free of cost but make payments to China-linked front organisations in South-East Asia for all the arms and ammunitions.