|China's newest assault rifle QBZ-03 is the standard|
weapon for Burma's ethnic rebel armies.
Over the past year, those Chinese weapons have cost the Myanmar military, or Tatmadaw, hundreds of lives. And as the fighting season gathers pace in western Rakhine state, the likelihood of another high death toll in 2020 will cast a long shadow in army circles over the triumphant hailing of a “new era” in Sino-Myanmar amity and cooperation that attended Xi’s historic state visit.
Almost certainly not by coincidence, the day before the January 18 meeting – the sixth meeting between Xi and Min Aung Hlaing — the Tatmadaw’s public relations wing ensured that the “discovery” of a rebel cache of Chinese munitions made on January 15 in Hsenwi township in northern Shan state received wide media publicity.