Sunday, April 2014
Major General Sumlut Gun Maw, Vice Chief of Staff of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), on Saturday met with Kachin and Chin communities after holding several rounds of discussions with officials from US government and United Nations.
Over 200 representatives from 15 Kachin communities around the United States and two representatives from Kachin Canadian Association had participated in Saturday meeting. General Gun Maw explained Kachin public about his US trip and meeting with officials from the US government and United Nations, current peace process, and ongoing conflict in some parts of the Kachin and Shan State.
He then proceeded to meet with representatives from 23 Chin Christian communities in a Baptist Church in Gaithersburg, MD. Major General Gun Maw began his keynote address by mentioning about kinship and friendship between Chin and Kachin. He explained about the meeting between Ethnics Armed Organizations’ Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) and Burmese government’s delegation that includes members of Parliament and Tatmadaw (Myanmar Military), and officials from executive branch of the government led by President Thein Sein.
During his 12-day stay in US, Major General Gun Maw met the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Rick Barton, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski, Senior Advisor for Burma Judith Cefkin, US Congressmen and other officials from the National Security Council, USAID, Department of Defense and officials from the United Nations including Special Adviser Vijay Nambiar in Washington, D,C. and New York City.
Assistant Secretary Malinowski said in a statement released on Good Friday, “The Kachin and American people share ties going back to WWII. Many Americans owed their lives to the Kachin fighters who guided General Stillwell’s men in the high altitudes and thick jungles of Burma’s upper Kachin State, and helped Allied forces secure victory in southeast Asia. But following Burma’s independence, and especially after a military coup in 1962, its armed forces proved unwilling to unite Burma’s diverse ethnic nationalities by democratic consent and unable to bond them by brute force. The result has been decades of war and division, with millions of civilians displaced. In Kachin State, abundant natural resources – gold, jade, teak, timber, gems, to name just a few – have been drivers of this conflict rather than sources of development.”
Major General Gun Maw also visited the Lincoln Memorial located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Assistant Secretary Malinowski, who encouraged Major General Gun Maw to visit there said, “We hope that the words written there, commemorating our own nation’s perseverance through civil war, will soon be spoken of Burma: that a Burmese government of the people, by the people, and for the people will strive on to finish the work it is in; to bind up its nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among its people, and with all nations.”