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Myanmar leader convenes peace talks to end civil war

August 31, 2016 - MYANMAR

A peace conference in Naypyidaw, convened by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, brings together ethnic armed groups that have been fighting the army and each other for years. She can thank Chinese intervention for the presence of three Beijing-backed rebel groups at the talks, which are aimed at ending the country's civil war.

The New York Times points out that China has a vested interest in facilitating the talks as the fighting has allowed illegal trade in jade and timber to prosper at its southern border with Myanmar. China also sees opportunity in nation building in the former Burma, which is strategically placed between India, China and Southeast Asia, with access to the Indian Ocean.

The so-called Panglong Conference is described as Suu Kyi's signature effort since assuming power.

Myanmar's Suu Kyi heads for China in first big foreign trip (FT 17 Aug 2016)

China Helps Aung San Suu Kyi With Peace Talks in Myanmar (NYT 20 Aug 2016)

Date written/update: 2016-08-22