Myanmar says an ethnic alliance has seized a key city bordering China

Myanmar’s military government acknowledges the seizure of Laukkaing, a critical city on the northeastern border with China, by an ethnic alliance.

On the ground: The takeover of Laukkaing by the Three Brotherhood Alliance marks one of the most significant setbacks for Myanmar’s military since the ethnic alliance launched an offensive in October.
* The alliance consists of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and the Arakan Army.
* The withdrawal of Myanmar’s forces highlights the challenges they face while combating resilient pro-democracy guerrillas and ethnic minority armed groups countrywide.
* Laukkaing, the capital of the Kokang Self-Administered Zone, saw the surrender of 2,389 military personnel and their families, who were subsequently evacuated.

Between states: The city’s strategic location and its proximity to China added complexity to the situation.
* Myanmar’s military reportedly considered the safety of the soldiers’ family members and the country’s relationship with China while deciding to cede control of Laukkaing.
* China has good relations with both the military and the ethnic alliance and has been advocating for a cessation of the fighting.
* China’s concern intensified after artillery shells landed in its territory last Wednesday, injuring five people.

Behind the news: The offensive in Laukkaing is perceived as an attempt to end military rule and major organized crime in the region.
* The MNDAA commander reported that over 250 military targets and five border crossings with China were taken, more than 300 cyberscam centers were raided, and over 40,000 Chinese involved in the scams were repatriated.
* Besides, this offensive is seen as an effort by the MNDAA to regain control of the Kokang Self-Administered Zone from a rival Kokang group supported by the military government.
View original article on NPR
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