Beware of junta’s political tricks, government-in-exile warns

With the military losing ground, it might feign a move toward democracy, NUG foreign minister says.
By San Maw Aung for RFA Burmese
Beware of junta’s political tricks, government-in-exile warns Foreign Affairs Minister of National Unity Government Zin Mar Aung speaks at the meeting with the Myanmar diaspora living in the Washington, D.C. metro area at the office of NUG on January 28, 2024.

Increasingly desperate after a series of battlefield losses, Myanmar’s junta may try to trick the world into thinking it is making changes to the political system – but don’t fall for it, the foreign minister of the country’s government-in-exile said.

“As the military council is suffering losses, they will do political stunts such as restructuring or reshuffling their organization,” said Zin Mar Aung, foreign minister of the National Unity Government, or NUG, made up of former civilian leaders ousted by the military in a Feb. 1, 2021, coup.

“It is totally unacceptable and it is not a movement for change,” she told about 100 members of the Burmese diaspora living in the greater Washington DC area on Sunday. “They have no intention or guarantee to change the political system. We should not fall for such stupid tricks.”

In recent months, the junta has lost ground to ethnic armed groups and grassroots militia, and hundreds of army soldiers have surrendered or defected to the rebel side. 

Since the end of October, the so-called Three Brotherhood Alliance, made up of three ethnic armies, have overrun dozens of Burmese army camps and captured key towns and cities in the northern and western parts of the country. 

Foreign Affairs Minister of National Unity Government Zin Mar Aung speaks at the meeting with the Myanmar diaspora living in the Washington, D.C. metro area Nearly 100 people joined the meeting led by Zin Mar Aung at the office of NUG on January 28, 2024. (RFA)

Zin Mar Aung called a potential political reshuffle an exit strategy for losers. 

“Actually, it’s the people all over the whole country who need an exit from being oppressed for many years,” she said. “The dictators are trying to trick the international community by political stunts. I believe in the Myanmar people, but have some concerns with the international community.”

The foreign minister of the shadow government said that support from both the international and domestic communities were required for the establishment of a genuine democratic country, and that the NUG is discussing with ethnic groups to ensure an all-inclusive federal democratic Union.

Call for more support

The gathering on Sunday included several senior NUG officials, who told RFA that they hoped to learn the concerns of the Myanmar diaspora and their willingness to support democratic movements in Myanmar.

“It has been about three years since the military coup. Democratic countries have not provided us with effective support,” said Kyaw Moe Tun, the permanent representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, who was appointed by the government that was ousted during the coup, but has remained in office despite attempts by the junta to remove him. 

“We can strongly confirm that we have not received effective support from [the international community,]” he said. “So, we need their support in our attempts to end the military dictatorship immediately.”

Deputy foreign minister Aung Kyaw Moe said the armed struggles of the resistance forces are becoming stronger, so the junta is about to come to an end, and its leaders would stand trial in the international court of justice and other courts.

“No criminal will escape from punishment for their crimes,” he said. “The ongoing  situation has shown that their end is getting closer. They must be punished under the international and local justice system. They must be punished.”

He added that NUG has informed international governments about the development of democratic movements in Myanmar. 

 RFA tried to contact Major General Zaw Min Tun, the spokesperson for the junta, about the NUG comments and criticism, but he could not be reached. 

Translated by Aung Naing. Edited by Eugene Whong and Malcolm Foster.


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