CHINA TOPIX

Updated 10:35 AM EDT, Thu, Apr 18, 2019

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Chinese Military to Conduct Live Fire Drills Near Myanmar Border

China Military Live Drills Near Kokang Region

(Photo : Reuters) China has reportedly conducted live-fire military exercises near the Taiwan island and analysts say it could be in preparation for possible outbreak of hostilities between the two sides.

China's Defense Ministry has announced that the military will conduct ground and aerial live fire drills near the Myanmar border, where Chinese citizens have been caught in the crossfire between Myanmar government and insurgents, according to Today Online.

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Yahoo News reported that Beijing has notified Myanmar's leaders about the military drills.  Many experts say the exercise is a sign that China is getting frustrated with the battle between Myanmar and ethnic Chinese insurgents, which is spilling into the country.

There have been numerous occasions where stray bombs and artillery shells have landed on China's side of the border. This has resulted in the deaths of at least five people, according to FT.com. Yunnan province - the part of China in closest proximity to Myanmar - has received tens of hundreds of Myanmar refugees fleeing the ongoing conflict.

Chinese authorities have said that the live fire exercise will take place on June 2 and it will be conducted in the counties of Yunan province that share borders with the Kokang region of Myanmar.

Officials say the military drill will be conducted in a way that it does not interfere with the daily activities of the civilian population in the region. However, reports indicate that civilians will be restricted from some parts of the counties in question. The central government is expected to issue a statement with regards to the conclusion of the live fire exercise soon.

Martial law in the Kokang area has been extended for another three months by the legislative body of Myanmar. Beijing has reportedly sent several messages to the Myanmar government to avoid the fighting from spreading into China's border.

The Information Ministry of Myanmar has revealed that the country's military is trying to defeat various rebel groups in the Kokang region. Some of these groups are believed to have bases that are just about half a kilometer away from the Chinese border.

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) has been identified as the biggest rebel faction in that area. The group's leader is known as Peng Jiasheng, an ethnic Chinese. The MNDAA traces it roots to the survivors of the Burma Communist Party, an insurgent group that China supported to fight Myanmar's military government until it broke up in 1989. A truce was initiated between the Myanmar government and the MNDAA. But it ended in conflict in 2009, when Myanmar troops launched an offensive to dislodge rebels from the Kokang region.

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