Bor­der gates closed amid se­cu­rity fears

The Myanmar Times - - News - CHAN MYA HTWE chan­myahtwe@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by San Layy

THREE bor­der gates in eastern Shan State have been closed due to se­cu­rity con­cerns, ac­cord­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Shan State gov­ern­ment.

“The clo­sures are mainly re­lated to se­cu­rity,” said U Min Aung, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Shan State gov­ern­ment’s bor­der gates su­per­vi­sion unit.

The gates were stopped op­er­a­tions on Oc­to­ber 23. He added that the Chi­nese side had started the clo­sures.

“The Mai Yu gate was closed from the Chi­nese side at around 2pm fol­low­ing with the Mai Lar gate. The Wang Tar Pin bor­der gate was then closed shortly af­ter,” U Min Aung said.

The Mai Lar area is con­trolled by the Wa, which op­er­ates a self-au­ton­o­mous zone, and con­trols one of the largest stand­ing non-state ar­mies, the United Wa State Army. The UWSA re­cently mo­bilised hun­dreds of troops in the neigh­bour­ing ter­ri­tory of its ally the Mongla. The Wa have said the de­ploy­ment was part of a mil­i­tary ex­er­cise, while the Mongla’s Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance Army has char­ac­terised the move as un­wanted, and has re­port­edly re­quested the UWSA with­draw.

U Min Aung said that Myan­mar’s side of the bor­der had not re­ceived any no­tice of in­tended clo­sure of bor­der check­points ahead of time.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts and the NDAA have raised fears about an es­ca­la­tion of con­flict in the area be­tween the UWSA and the Ta­madaw.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal res­i­dents, the Wa and the Tat­madaw were positioned on op­po­site sides of a bridge near the Mai Yu check­point.

“We have not heard of any fight­ing at this time, but the gates may have been closed sim­ply be­cause of con­cerns,” said one lo­cal res­i­dent who asked not to be named.

Staff from the Depart­ment of Trade, Cus­toms and Con­sumer Af­fairs have been re­lo­cated to other bor­der posts, U Min Aung said.

The bor­der gates are im­por­tant trade routes for goods to and from China and Thai­land.

‘The clo­sures are mainly re­lated to se­cu­rity.’

U Min Aung Shan State gov­ern­ment bor­der of­fi­cial

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