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Myanmar military lose control of strategic border town

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP)Myanmar’s military has lost control of a strategic northern town on the Chinese border following days of clashes with three ethnic armed groups, a junta spokesman said.

“Government, administrative organisations and security organisations are no longer present” in Chinshwehaw town, which borders China’s Yunnan province, Zaw Min Tun said in a statement late Wednesday.

This long exposure picture taken late on October 28, 2023 shows a missile fired from a Myanmar military base in Lashio township, northern Shan State. PHOTO: AFP

Fighting has raged since Friday across a swathe of Myanmar’s northern Shan state — where a billion-dollar rail link is planned as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road global infrastructure project.

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) say they have seized several military posts and key roads linking Myanmar with China, its biggest trade partner.

The United Nations says it fears thousands of people have been displaced, with some fleeing across the border into China.

More than a quarter of Myanmar’s USD1.8 billion worth of border trade with China from April to September this year passed through Chinshwehaw, junta-controlled media reported in September, citing the commerce ministry.

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