The Chinese embassy in Myanmar on Sunday issued a press release, rejecting allegations that China provided arms to ethnic militants in northern Myanmar, as claimed by the Jane's Intelligence Review and the Voice of America.
"Such allegations, however, were ill-founded and misguided," a statement by the Chinese embassy in Rangoon said. “The Chinese Government holds a clear and consistent policy of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar."
A reporter of China’s Global Times in the Kachin State said KIA mainly uses light weapons, including AK-47, AMD-65 7.62mm assault rifle, light machine gun and a small number of Type 81 assault rifle, which were made in the 1960s or 1970s.
Some of these light weapons were “legacies” of Myanmar’s communists while others were seized from Myanmar’s government troops, said Global Times.
On Friday, a spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied allegations that China was providing arms to the KIA after a regular press briefing, according to the transcript the ministry released on Saturday.
“The Chinese side has consistently played a positive, constructive role in the conflict in northern Myanmar by mediating and facilitating talks,” spokesman Hong Lei said.
The embassy's release referred to a report by Jane’s Intelligence Review from December, according to which the UWSA received Chinese-made PTL02 Wheeled Tank Destroyers in the middle of last year. The Jane’s report stated that the arms were acquired on the “gray” arms market in China.
The controversy comes at a time when the Myanmar army is closing in on Laiza, the last stronghold of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in the border.
China has hosted several rounds of talks between the KIA and the Myanmar government at its major border hub Ruili in Yunnan Province.