An escalation in fighting between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Tatmadaw near the town of Mong Ko on the China border has emptied villages, while inflaming longstanding tensions over who controls the area.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has attracted ridicule for airing grand development plans at a time when the economy is in crisis, but even the regime’s more rational economic goals are unlikely to be achievable.
Since independence, Myanmar’s ethnic minorities have felt ignored by the central government. A new ministry focusing on ethnic affairs was supposed to change that, but there is little clarity about its actual role.
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.