Interview with Dr Thiri Mon Chan (Part 2)
Military council extended its state of emergency another six months from 1 August to 31 January with the reason of instability in the country.
This interview with Dr Thiri Mon Chan, the chair of Mon State Defence Force’s Military and Politics Leading Committee is about possible military situations after extension of emergency ruling, increasing operations of resistance forces based in Mon state and the stance of New Mon State Party.
TLT: Will the armed struggle of resistance forces increase in Mon state after the military council extended the state of emergency?
Dr. Thiri Mon Chan: Whether the military council is preparing for intensifying military operations or not in Mon, Kayin and Tanintharyi which are included in our southern region military command, we will increase our missions in line with our military objectives. In addition, southern command region, all the resistance forces in all commands need to move harmoniously for the victory of Spring Revolution. Such collaborative will make the military more difficult. So, we will continue our military strategy.
TLT: Since second week of July, forces of New Mon State group have been patrolling in the area. Will it affect the operations of local resistance forces?
Dr. Thiri Mon Chan: There have been a lot of criticism about operations of New Mon State. Some people praised it. After the New Mon State signed ceasefire in Mudon township, Mon state, in 1995, they could not hold arms in western part of the highway. As they could not conduct military operations, people did not see forces of New Mon State. However, some criticized that these forces could not provide sufficient protection.
So, I do not think that their security patrol will trouble military operations of resistance forces including local armed groups. Even the military regime with ground force, air force and navy cannot protect people. The New Mon State armed group has said they will take security for people in Mudon. Actually, national security and defence duties are more profound. If they want to protect Mon people, they should have adopted policies and strategies both politically and militarily for protection of Mon people from armed conflicts. “It is like ‘sharpening arrowheads’ only when armed clashes spread to Mon state. Then, how New Mon State group will protect public property. People have realized the New Mon State could not carry out security patrol in the western side of motorway without approval of military council. And the stance of New Mon State is trying to avoid armed conflicts with military, and to occurred clashes of Mon armed groups, other resistance forces, PDFs under NUG and KNU. As they are operating in Mudon where fighting has not taken place until now. So, the New Mon State will not become obstacles for revolutionary forces.
TLT: As the New Mon State Party is working for political dialogue, what will be their political directions. Will they accept the invitation of military?
Dr. Thiri Mon Chan: I see their certain changes from the steadfast policy of negotiation. For example, the New Mon State party’s central committee meeting in April 2023 decided not to hold political dialogue with the military again. However, they did not say to end all the relations with the military. They will work together in non-political issues such as social, economic, cultural and Mon literature sectors. So, their stance is not very assertive with the military. They are in a wise course of action where neither party suffers. However, we need to take time to monitor their future trend. Their chairman Nai Han Thar has said that if all other ethnic armed groups took part in armed struggle, they will also join in fighting against the military. It does not seem to be a sound reason. But we see it a certain change, not entirely or assertively.
TLT: What is your message to people about Spring Revolution?
Dr. Thiri Mon Chan: Spring Revolution is a struggle for ‘system change’. Its momentum was never seen before in the history. People in all regions and states are fighting against the military, and have gained significant success. Successive military regimes never experienced such crisis in the past.
Ethnic armed struggle has been over 20 years. However, the Spring Revolution is stronger with urban clashes, local attacks and diplomatic roles. If all Myanmar citizens at home and abroad could increase struggle harmoniously, our Spring Revolution will change the system. Before the victory, we will need to overcome difficulties all together. The existing revolution is the only mean to establish a genuine federal union tha t is expected by all the people throughout the country.