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China 'sends armed helicopters to Myanmar separatists'

25 April 2013

Myanmar's insurgent United Wa State Army (UWSA) has for the first time acquired an armed rotary-wing aviation capability with assistance from China: the latest move in a programme of rapid rearmament.

China delivered several Mil Mi-17 'Hip' medium-transport helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air missiles to the Wa in late February and early March, according to both Myanmar ethnic minority and Myanmar government sources.

The UWSA controls a wide wedge of territory along the Chinese border in northeastern Shan State and is currently in a fragile ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar military, or 'Tatmadaw'.

The Mi-17s reached the Wa-administered area by flying across the Mekong River from Lao rather than direct from China, according to one ethnic minority military source, who added that five helicopters had been delivered.



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