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Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar ethnic armies march to China's tune amid COVID spike

Beijing fortifies 'Southern Great Wall' as imported cases rise in border areas

People in remote areas of Myanmar under the control of ethnic armies are being inoculated against COVID-19 with support from China. (Source photos by Getty Images and Kachinwaves/AFP/Jiji)

BANGKOK -- Along its border with Myanmar, China is taking a stab at containing the spread of COVID-19 by ramping up ties with armed groups operating in rural ethnic enclaves, completely ignoring the military regime in Myanmar.

The Kachin Independence Army, Shan State Army-North and United Wa State Army -- the largest of Myanmar's rebel forces -- have become conduits for doses of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, bolstering alliances that Beijing has cultivated in a corner of Southeast Asia that is strategically important to Yunnan Province in China's southwest.

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