Ethnic conference joined by Wa, allies

The Peace and Democratic Front (PDF) alliance, formed by the ex-Communist Party of Burma (CPB) forces in the wake of its overthrow in 1989, will be joining today’s conference held in Chiangmai by the Ulnited Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), according to sources from the Thai-Burmese border.

It includes representatives from the Panghsang-based United Wa State Party/United Wa State Army (UWSP/UWSA), Moongla-based National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) that has been in exile out of its Kokang base since 2009.

Xiao Hsarm Khun speaking at the Shan-Kayah Trust Building for Peace conference in Lashio, Shan State, on 22 March 2013 (Photo: Kawli Media)

The only PDF member that is missing is the National Democratic Army-Kachin (NDAK) led by Sakhong Ting Ying who has accepted a Border Guard Force (BGF) status offered by the Burma Army.

The UWSP/UWSA delegation is led by Xiao Hsarm Khun, Deputy Head of the External Affairs Department, who first came under the attention of the Burmese media last March, when he publicly demanded a separate statehood for the Wa.

The NDAA is led by one of its vice chairmen Kham Mawng and the MNDAA by Peng Kun, son of its leader Peng Dashun. The former leader Peng Jiasheng, Dashun’s father, is reported to have retired.

This is the first time the PDF and its members have openly accepted an invitation from other ethnic resistance movements to participle in their meetings. A Panghsang source who asked not to be named said, “It is time we come out of isolation. Because there has been a lot of suspicions and misunderstandings surrounding us and we cannot dismiss them by remaining in our shells.”

The UWSA is reputed as a major drug producer and trafficker. Its persistent call for separation from Shan State has also alienated many Shan movements, and their leaders except for the late Khun Sa who has fought against them, 1989-96. “For all I care,” he told a meeting held at his then headquarters Homong, “the Wa can go for total independence. But it’ll be independence in name only, because the Wa can never be independent.”

The Wa “State” is surrounded by China and Shan State.

The 3 day Ethnic Conference in Chiangmai, 29-31 July, is also attended by the 1990 elections winning parties from the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) and the 2010 elections winning parties from Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF).


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