Coco Island, April (6)

Rumor has it that China may be involved in the construction of new military facilities, including the extension of the runway, the accommodation bloc and radar station in Myanmar’s Great Coco Island, reported some international media.

The photos from January 2023 by Maxar Technologies show renewed levels of construction activity on Great Coco Island.

“Satellite images show two new hangars, a new 2,300-meter runway, and a new radar station”, satellite imagery expert Damien Symon Damian Simon and foreign affairs and security issues expert John Pollock wrote in an article for Chatham House, an independent policy institute based in London.

As of late March, evidence of land clearing efforts on Great Coco’s southern tip indicated future construction work, said the article.

  There have been unconfirmed reports that China has stationed on Coco Island for intelligence purposes using a special radar system in the past two decades.

CDM Captain Lin Htet Aung remarked, ” For China, which is trying to dominate the sea, Coco Island is a strategic location, so it is possible to build a military base. The Myanmar junta army can even be defined as a subordinate of China. Coco Island is one of the important strategic locations to compete with US naval power at sea”.

Coco Island lies near India’s strategically important Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and India and Myanmar share a land boundary that is 1643 kilometers long as well as a maritime border.

The foreign media reports that the junta army’s militarization of the Coco Islands, combined with wider Chinese developments inland, could pose a significant security challenge to India and its navy.

Dr. Hla Kyaw Zaw, a Myanmar political analyst based in China, said, “China is said to dock and refuel at places such as naval bases along its waterways. There are also plans to build bases around the Pacific Islands around Australia and protect their defense systems. We have been hearing accusations of Chinese encroachment on Cocoa Island for a long time. I have not heard the exact answer yet”.

Instead of relying on the Malacca Strait to transport goods to the east coast, China is also reportedly working on a number of infrastructure projects in Myanmar through the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor as an alternative route to access the Indian Ocean.

Under the NLD administration, a memorandum of understanding on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) project was signed in September 2018 in Beijing, China.

While the international community, including the United Nations, condemns the military council that seized power, Russia and China are supporting the military group.

A legal expert said, “According to the 2008 constitution, parliaments, the executive branch, the president, and the various regional and state governments have no right to interfere in military matters. According to Article 20(b) of the 2008 Constitution, the military has the right to manage all military affairs independently. No one can exceed that provision”.

After the 2021 coup led by General Min Aung Hlaing, China has exerted influence over the military regime and local businesses, including Myanmar’s political crisis.

In March, the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC) held a meeting in Pangkham, the Wa autonomous region, and expressed its support for China’s intervention to resolve the internal conflicts in Myanmar.

The acting president of the opposition National Unity Government (NUG), Duwa Lashi La, also said at a cabinet meeting that he recognizes China’s intervention in Myanmar’s affairs.

News – Than Lwin Times

Photo: Hangar

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