China-Myanmar pipeline threatened by Kachin violence

2013-01-28 03:01:18 GMT2013-01-28 11:01:18(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

By Mei Jingya, Sina English

The China-Myanmar pipeline has recently come under threat by escalating ethnic violence in northern Myanmar after the Kachin rebels warned to attack any target in the state.

A spokesperson for the rebel group said Sunday a key outpost protecting their headquarters in northern Myanmar has fallen to government troops.

Speaking of the big loss, a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) source told China’s Global Times they now have no choice but to retreat to the mountains.

He said the KIA would soon launch a large scale guerilla warfare in the whole Kachin state and nothing here would be safe, “including the China-Myanmar pipeline”, which is expected to begin pumping gas on May 30.

The KIA told press earlier the hillside outpost at Hka Ya Bhum, near the guerrilla group's headquarters in the town of Laiza, was overrun Saturday afternoon.

"The army stormed the post using about 3,000 soldiers and air and artillery assaults," said the spokesman, who asked to be identified only as Joseph.

He said in a telephone interview that heavy attacks on the post began last week, despite a cease-fire unilaterally declared by the government. Over the past few weeks, the government has pushed toward Laiza, although it insists that it has no intention of taking the town.

"The government did not live up to their own promises and they continue their attacks even today. I think their target is to totally occupy our Laiza headquarters," he said. No casualty figures were available, he said.

The Kachin, like Myanmar's other ethnic minorities, have long sought greater autonomy from the central government. They are the only major ethnic rebel group that has not reached a truce with President Thein Sein's administration.

The fighting has drawn concern from the United States, China and the United Nations.

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Editor: Mei Jingya
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