Japan must see to it that development assistance given to Burma/Myanmar is equitably shared between the lower lands and its frontier areas, where most of the non-Burman ethnic states are located, according to the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) delegation that had returned to the Thai-Burma border on Saturday, 5 May, following a ten-day visit to Japan.
“That was the message we delivered to the Japanese foreign ministry on our arrival,” said Hkun Okker, the alliance’s joint secretary #2, one of the mission’s three members. “Our argument was that only when states develop on a par with lower Burma, lasting peace can be assured. We have the impression the message was well received.”
Other members of the mission are David Tharckabaw, Karen National Union (KNU); and Dr Laja, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO).
The delegates spent more than an hour at the ministry, half an hour with vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Yuzuru Nakano alone, on 26 April, the day after their arrival in Tokyo.
“Aside from development assistance, we also broached the subject of humanitarian assistance,” said Hkun Okker. “We informed them that while more assistance is being given to projects inside, the cross-border aid should also continue.”
His report comes at a time when several cross-border aid agencies that have been looking after some 150,000 refugees and some 1.5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are saying their funds have been drastically reduced.
“Tokyo’s Myanmar policy is Tokyo’s China policy,” commented a senior Thai security official echoing what a US policy analyst said a year ago: Washington’s Burma policy is Washington’s China policy. “Request is not enough. You have to see whether or not you can make your plans fit in with theirs.”
The trip also coincided with escalation of the fighting between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) back home. The 11-member alliance is expected to issue a press release on the subject within a few days.
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