Burma’s Union Peace-making Work Committee led by Vice-Chairman Thein Zaw and “Wa” Special Region (2) Peace-making Delegation led by Zhao Guo-an launched peace talks at Triangle Region Command Headquarters in Kengtung in Shan State (East) on Friday, the state-run New Light of Myanmar reported.

After the dialogue, both the Burmese government peacemaking team and the Wa peace delegation had reached a five-point agreement. Both sides agreed to carry on the agreements that emerge from the state-level and the union-level peace-talks.

The government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee and the Wa Special Region (2) Peace-making Committee also agreed to keep up mutual understandings, trust and an excellent tradition of peace and to continue cooperation for reaching everlasting peace through positive negotiations.

A young female recruit of the Kachin Independence Army, one of the country's largest armed ethnic groups, participates in battle drills at a training camp near Laiza. Pic: AP.

If any military issues emerge between the Burma Army and UWSA, both parties agree to resolve them in a mutually transparent approach as quickly as possible based on constructive traditions.

Since the Wa Special Region (2) is a inntegral part of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar/Burma, the breaking away of the Wa Region from the state is out of the question.  And for the perpetuation of sovereignty and territory of the state, the Wa Special Region (2) needs to make use of its capabilities for the advantage of the state.

Finally, an additional agreement was made to support the mutual cooperation between the Union government and the Wa Special Region (2) in progress of the region and eradication of narcotic drugs, according to the state-run media.

Five top Wa leaders arrived at Hwe Aw, opposite Chiang-mai, last Friday, 5 July, to hold pre-talks with local United Wa State Army (UWSA) commanders before actual negotiations with Nay-pyi-taw’s negotiators in Kengtung, 11-12 July, Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N.) said on Wednesday referring to Thai security sources.

The UWSA is one of the 17 armed ethnic ceasefire groups that supported the Burmese military junta’s 14-year long National Convention that finished in September 2007.

Military observers pointed out that one of the root causes of growing tension between the government army and the UWSA was that the government wanted to re-control Wa’s southern part bordering Thailand, as reported by The Daily Eleven on 4 July.

Jane’s Defence Weekly said last April that United Wa State Army (UWSA) has for the first time acquired an armed rotary-wing aviation capability with assistance from China: the latest move in a programme of rapid re-armament. The Defence Weekly stated, “China delivered several Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ medium-transport helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air missiles to the Wa in late February and early March, according to both Myanmar ethnic minority and Myanmar government sources.”

In addition, the previous junta dogmatically insisted the nation must have only one army and that clause has been put in the unjust 2008 constitution which cannot be amended without permission of the armed forces. Currently, the Thein Sein government also wishes the Special Region (2) of the UWSA would act in line with the 2008 constitution. According to Article 338 of the military-drawn constitution: “All the armed forces in the Union shall be under the command of the Defense Services.”

The UWSA and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) said they will uphold the following four principles: (1) They will not surrender. (2) They will not transform into BGF unless their autonomy demands are met. (3) They will not shoot first. (4) But they are ready to protect themselves and they will not secede from the Union, according to the sources from the Sino-Burma border.

According to Jane’s Intelligence Review in April 2008, China has become the main source of arms to the United Wa State Army. In an analysis of the Asian weapons’ black market, the Jane’s Intelligence Review says that the United Wa State Army (UWSA) rebel group in Myanmar acts as the “middleman” between Chinese arms manufacturers and insurgent groups in the Northeast, with most weapons routed through China’s Yunnan province.

Aung Kyaw Zaw, a military observer from the China-Burma border, told Radio Free Asia (Burmese Service) that, aside from the helicopters, there were also reports that China had sent a large number of armaments and military-use vehicles to the China-Burma border in Sept. 2012, and that new weapons had recently appeared in the area.

The Wa military has about 30,000 soldiers, and some of their equipment is more advanced than that of the Burmese military, he said. The UWSA, formed by members of the Chinese-speaking Wa ethnic group, were one of several ethnic militias founded after the 1989 breakup of the Burmese Communist Party.

Despite declaring a noninterference policy, military analysts believe China is the major supplier of weapons to the Wa Army.