Wa Leaders Ask Burma President for Autonomous State
BURMA

Wa Leaders Ask President for Autonomous State

UWSA, United Wa State Army, Burma, Myanmar, Shan, The Irrawaddy, Irrawaddy, peace process, nationwide ceasefire, ethnic, Wa, border guard force

President Thein Sein meets UWSA leaders on Saturday in Naypyidaw, on the sidelines of a ceremony for the nationwide census. (Photo: Nyo Ohn Myint)

NAYPYIDAW — Ethnic Wa leaders reiterated their demand for an autonomous Wa state over the weekend during a short meeting with President Thein Sein in Naypyidaw.

A delegation from the United Wa State Army (UWSA) met the president on the sidelines of an opening ceremony for the nationwide census, which will begin on March 30 but will start two weeks earlier in Wa territory of northern Shan State.

“We will ask the president for a Wa State,” UWSA spokesman Aung Myint told The Irrawaddy before meeting Thein Sein on Saturday. “We do not need to use armed force to ask for our state.”

The UWSA is the largest ethnic armed group in Burma, with 20,000 soldiers. The former junta granted the Wa the right to operate a self-administered zone in northeastern Shan State, near the Chinese border, but the UWSA has been increasingly pushing over the last year to upgrade its territory to the status of an officially recognized autonomous state.

“We will not secede from the mainland by asking to receive a Wa state,” the UWSA spokesman added.

The well-armed UWSA reached a new ceasefire deal with the government in September 2011, to replace a 1989 agreement with Burma’s military regime.

The ethnic armed group in the past has resisted government pressure to join a Border Guard Force (BGF), but UWSA leaders said their troops would participate in any future federal army. Ethnic groups have pushed the government to decentralize the command structure of the military, with battalions in certain regions comprised largely of soldiers from the dominant resident ethnic group.

The UWSA is less enthusiastic about calls for a federal union. While other ethnic groups want constitutional amendments to give more political power to individual states, the Wa have resisted the idea of federalism because they are an ethnic minority within Shan State, rather than having a state of their own.

The Burmese government is moving forward with plans for a nationwide ceasefire accord, although a conference to sign the deal has been delayed several times. The UWSA leaders said they would likely add their names to the accord in a bid to promote peace, but added that they would wait to find out the exact wording of the final agreement before committing.

“We need to be very careful with the contents of the agreement before we sign,” Aung Myint told The Irrawaddy.


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8 Responses to Wa Leaders Ask President for Autonomous State

  1. Does a myanmar have authority to grant the wa people an autonomy? The people of shan state have the right to discuss this issue. The wa people must stop this behavior. They may try to get what they want but not through the myanmars.

    • What’s wrong with people asking for the right to manage their own lives? Didn’t the Burman demand the same right from British and the Japanese before?

      Why do the Wa have to play by Burman’s rules while the Burman set out their own rules? Stop being such a hypocrite.

  2. Too bad. Instead of discussing with fellow citizens from Shan State, Wa people ask Thein Sein the Myanmar to grant the Wa people to give them autonomous land. I am an ethnic person too. I would never ask Thein Sein to do this because Thein Sein has no right to divide the Shan State. The people who live in Shan State are the only people who have the right to handle this issue. Even if Thein Sein gives the Wa people autonomy, it will never be valid for sovereignty.

    • Dear Golden Owel
      Than shwe and thein sien deliberately divides Shan into 2 pieces ( Wa and Shan) because of their own gain ( divide and rule) for giving autonomy in Wa with their own dirty reasons in the past during implementation of deadly military favoured Nargic 2008 constitution. Do you think fox than shwe and thein sien love Wa’s people ? No, they think Wa is nothing to have lucrative natural resources and lands( mountainous). Wa will cultivate or produce opium for them. Wa will protect Bama army if China invades bama.
      If Wa is the one to gain real autonomy from the all time-faked autonomy of bama military ( without honoring panglong treaty), what is wrong with Shan who should not be jealous to Wa. One day , Wa is the leader to make all ethnics to gain autonomy. If so, tell your Shan leaders to cooperate with Wa to fight for the gaining of autonomy for all ethnics (wa is the good example). Instead of living under the cruel evil than shwe’s rule , please consider to live under the future giant rich China as it is one the another good options. US, EU are far away for all ethnics to live under their rules. At least, rich boss, China is better than poor bama. Bama military is still killing local Muslim with the help of psy Buddhist wirathu to suppress all other religious ( Buddhist mania U nu’s way of bamanization) particularly, Christian Kachin, Karen and Chin at the same time to throw their one stone to hit democratic DASSK as well. The next target from fox than shwe is to kill Arakanese ethnics and local Chinese ethnics respectively to gain their political vote. G-Aung san’s political strategy for panglong treaty ( union or unity or slogan of autonomy ) is no longer in use from fox than shwe and puppet thein sein on all ethnics who are fed up with panglong treaty’s slogan-faked autonomy.
      What do you want to do with your Kindergarten political strategy in this regard when Wa is the first hero to demand real autonomy from fox than shwe? You should clap your both hands loudly to support Wa, please. If Wa is your wife, make a faked separation for a while from Shan. However, you can live forever together as you all are over age of 16 or 18. Your marriage certificate with Wa as well as Panglong treaty are rubbish from the eyes of fox than shwe.

  3. Wa have bigger plans.They seem to create the so-called Bingtuan ..wa run state or regional organisation that operates schools,hospitals,media,military and other economic development projects themselves.For instance,we could see Bingtuan activities done by Han chinese in Xinjiang province of China.
    In my opinion,due to Wa’s guanxi network…connection ,China is eager to lend money to Wa’s bingtuan for development projects giving more money than Central government.Wa are surely provided by all advices from China and more loyal to China.
    In fact, Wa is flexing its militia power causing unstability in the country.A state within the state situation and its future economic success will create them to influence on other fellow ethic groups.Their dominance is on the way..

  4. George Than Setkyar Heine

    “We will ask the president for a Wa State,” UWSA spokesman Aung Myint told The Irrawaddy before meeting Thein Sein on Saturday. “We do not need to use armed force to ask for our state.”
    That certainly amounts to BULL TALK on the part of Aung Myint of course.
    And it is NOTHING LESS THAN A THREAT ON THE BURMA ARMY in particular and the SOVEREIGNTY OF BURMA in general as well.
    It is TIME for MIN AUNG HLAING – who said the BURMA ARMY IS AFRAID OF NO ONE a while back – to SHOW HIS METTLE (MIGHT) if he has any for that matter as well.
    Aung Myint to ‘ASK FOR AUTONOMY FOR THE ETHNIC CHINESE RUN STATE OF WA’ itself in PERSON and FACE TO FACE with Thein Sein as well is DIRECT AFFRONT/INSULT on the SOVEREIGNTY of the UNION of BURMA and a CHALLENGE and THREAT ON THE TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY of the country no less as well.
    And this SPIT ON THE FACE (INSULT) of Burma’s president PUBLICLY as well PROVED the FACT the COMMUNISTS in BEIJING ARE PLAYING THE WA CARD now as I have OFT MENTIONED since years ago no doubt.
    WA STATE is only a TERRITORY in the SHAN STATE of BURMA lest the Chinese forget as well.
    CLAIMING for COMPLETE AUTONOMY for WA STATE on the part of the ethnic CHINESE RUNNING a TERRITORY in the SHAN STATE of BURMA IS NOTHING SHORT of a CALL FOR WAR on the part of the UWSA no less.
    Hence, it is the OBLIGATION and DUTY BOUND for the BURMA ARMY to PROTECT BURMA’S SOVEREIGNTY and TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY as well of course.
    Let’s SEE/WATCH HOW and WHEN MIN AUNG HLAING as COMMANDER-in-CHIEF of the BURMA ARMY – who once said the BURMA ARMY is NOT AFRAID of ANY ARMED GROUP in BURMA – ANSWERS to AUNG MYINT’S ARROGANT CALL/CHALLENGE for WAR folks!
    And IT IS HIGH TIME the BURMA ARMY and the PEOPLE of BURMA GANG UP and RUN OUT ALL the INSOLENT ETHNIC CHINESE OUT OF BURMA for ONCE and GOOD as well I say.
    WAKE UP BURMA ARMY and the PEOPLE as well and DRIVE OUT the ETHNIC CHINESE CARVING OUT and LAYING WASTE/DESTROYING OUR LAND, PEOPLE and COUNTRY today.

  5. Government should not grant autonomous statehood to Wa. Shan state can not divide into many small states. Shan state has many minority ethnics and it will destroy peace and stability in Shan state.

  6. No Way. There should be no “Autonomous State or Region” in Union Of Myanmar for past, present and future.

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