MNDAA fighters walk past a military base after seizing it during clashes in Laukkai Township, in northern Shan State, on October 28. (Kokang Information Network | AFP)

Junta, Brotherhood Alliance confirm China-mediated ceasefire


Myanmar’s military and the Three Brotherhood Alliance of ethnic armed groups announced a ceasefire on Friday after months of conflict that has claimed hundreds of lives and posed the biggest threat to the junta since it seized power in 2021.

Conflict has raged in Myanmar’s northern Shan State since October, when the alliance launched an offensive against the junta, seizing several towns and border hubs vital for trade with China.

“With the help of China’s facilitation, there was a meeting in [the Chinese city of] Kunming. We have reached a ceasefire agreement,” junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told AFP. 

Tar Bhone Kyaw of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army – one member of the alliance – said they had “agreed to reopen border trade” with China.

China also announced the ceasefire Friday.

“The two sides agreed to an immediate ceasefire, to disengage military personnel and resolve relevant disputes and demands through peaceful negotiations,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

The talks took place with the “mediation and facilitation of the Chinese side” on Wednesday and Thursday in the city of Kunming in Yunnan province, which borders Myanmar, she said.

Mao did not say what areas were covered by the ceasefire.

The Brotherhood claimed last week to have captured a northern town notorious for online scam operations in another blow to the junta.

Since November people have been fleeing Laukkai town, located on the border with China, that was run by a Myanmar military-aligned militia and known for gambling, prostitution and online scams run out of compounds staffed by thousands of people, many trafficked.

The alliance – made up of the TNLA, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Arakan Army – said the town was now under their control.

Last week, following reports that an artillery shell had exploded across Myanmar’s border with China, Beijing voiced “strong dissatisfaction” that fighting had caused Chinese casualties and said it would take “all necessary measures” to protect its citizens.

Last month, Beijing said it had also mediated talks between the Myanmar military and the allied ethnic armed groups and reached an agreement for a “temporary ceasefire”.

But clashes continued thereafter in parts of northern Shan, and China’s embassy asked its citizens to evacuate an area along the shared border owing to security risks.

On Friday, spokesperson Mao said “both sides pledged not to compromise the safety of Chinese border residents and Chinese personnel in Myanmar”.

“Maintaining the momentum of ceasefire and peace talks in northern Myanmar is in line with the interests of all parties in Myanmar and also helps to maintain peace and stability at the border,” she said.

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
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.

Support our independent journalism and get exclusive behind-the-scenes content and analysis

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters.

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar