Dispatch Day 2: Despite Wa Walk-Out Panglong Peace Still Promising

Day 2: The 21st Century Panglong Conference still on track to bring peace to war torn Burma despite Wa walk-out [VIDEO].

Naypyitaw, Myanmar – Day 2 of the 21st Century Panglong Conference saw the walk-out of a certain delegation that represents Myanmar’s largest and most powerful ethnic army – the United Wa State Army (UWSA). Nine delegates from the UWSA removed themselves from the conference upon realizing they were given only temporary observer identifications, rather than full representative id’s, allowing them to speak.  Called a “misunderstanding” by conference officials, UWSA delegates still chose to leave what is an historic attempt at bringing peace to the war torn nation of Myanmar.

The USWA, which campaigns for the Wa ethnic people, is led by ethnic Chinese commanders and controls the Wa Special Region in Myanmar’s Shan state. It has been accused of producing and selling methamphetamines and heroin, and is one of the armed ethnic groups that refused to sign the nationwide cease-fire agreement.

Still, Day 2 of the Conference proved to be promising, as previously reported.

The Panglong Conference is modeled after the 1947 Conference that was a construct of General Aung San, Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, who brought together different ethnic leaders from the frontier areas that had been ruled by the British under their own administration. The goal then was to form the nation of Burma after independence from the British.

The conference is attended by seven hundred delegates representing the government, military and 17 different ethnic armed organizations, as well as observers from the EU, UN and China.

For Day 2 coverage of the Conference, and interviews, watch here.

Video includes an interview with Kachin ethnic leader Dr. Manam Tu Ja, founder of the Kachin State Democracy Party, and United Wa State Army Assistant General Secretary Ai Wong.

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For more on events leading up to the Conference, read “The Lynchpin of Power: Burma’s Struggle for Peace.”

UPDATE: DAY 3

Raymond Pagnucco, for Lima Charlie News.

Ray Pagnucco, Senior Correspondent, for Lima Charlie News, began his career in television and has since worked as a cameraman, field producer and editor on various shows, including South Asian news channel Samaa Television, Fuji TV Network and Feature Story News, where he shot and edited for Channel News Asia and China Central Television-America. Raymond has contributed to Vice News, writing about Myanmar’s politics, the national ceasefire negotiations and ethnic armed groups, and is currently based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RPagnuccoLC

Lima Charlie provides global news, analysis and opinion by military veterans and service members Worldwide.

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Image & video credits: Raymond Pagnucco

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