Insight Email

The Rise of Princelings – 2

This week ISP-Myanmar presents another review in our series on emerging new generation leaders from Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and the Spring Revolution movement, framed under the theme "The Rise of Princelings."
By ISP Admin | March 21, 2024

Insight Email Vol-2 No. 4

This ISP Insight Email Vol.2. No.4 (English version) is published on March 21, 2024 as a translation of the original Burmese version published on March 15, 2024.


This week ISP-Myanmar presents another review in our series on emerging new generation leaders from Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and the Spring Revolution movement, framed under the theme “The Rise of Princelings.” With the generational shifts, there comes an extraordinary change in perspectives. The younger generation of leaders is naturally more inclined to pursue new ideas and take risks rather than sticking to the status quo. Their conviction and determination have only intensified as they witness the political fruits of their endeavors. ISP-Myanmar has previously compared this phenomenon with the pride of “Princelings.”

Our previous issue, “The Rise of the Princelings -1,” introduced fresh faces in the Wa leadership (UWSP/UWSA). This week’s sequel introduces the leadership of the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) and its armed wing, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and their emphasis on institutions. The TNLA has seized control of several cities following Operation 1027 and their priority has now shifted to implementing administrative institutions and systems. While outcomes remain uncertain, youth leadership’s innovative thinking and fresh perspectives are poised to steer politics, economy, and other social spheres along trajectories distinct from those led by older generations. The rise of the new Ta’ang generational leadership diverges from the Wa, who traditionally inherit the legacy of previous generations. Ta’ang new leaders forged their own paths, distinct from direct lineage ties, which in Burmese culture called “Ngattapa Min,” signifying a king unrelated by bloodline to royal predecessors. In future ISP Insight Emails, ISP-Myanmar will feature the Rakhine, Karenni, and other “Ngattapa Min” that emerged during the Spring Revolution.

The Trends to Watch section of this week’s ISP Insight Email examines developments in the effort to eradicate the Kyar Phyant cross-border crime syndicates. Then, our What ISP is Reading section delves into the foreign policy of Myanmar’s most powerful neighbor, China.


The “Spotlights” section aims to provide a succinct overview of recent noteworthy developments. Three compelling issues from the past two weeks will be discussed.

Border Bargain: SAC-3BHA 30-70 Accord

Chinshwehaw and Muse border gates were reopened four months after their closure on March 11. Reports indicate that the SAC and the 3BHA cooperated to achieve this result. Before the reopening, the 3BHA announced further agreements with the SAC, including recognizing the Myanmar National Truth and Justice Party/Myanmar National Democratic Alliance (MNTJP/MNDAA) as the official government of Kokang Special Region-1. Additionally, the customs revenue division at the Chinshwehaw border gate was set at 70 per cent for the 3BHA and 30 per cent for the SAC. Trade at the Chinshwehaw border gate averages over one and a half million US dollars daily. Meanwhile, details around the customs from the Muse border gate, another significant trade route, remain undisclosed. Daily trade at the Muse border gate exceeds 7.3 million US dollars. The SAC remains tightlipped about the discussions, but the spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun announced the SAC’s position was to ensure the stability of the territorial rule of law and to protect the interests of both Myanmar and China. Following Operation 1027, the SAC and 3BHA met four times in total through China’s mediation in Kunming, China. Analysis regarding Operation 1027 can be read on the ISP-Myanmar website.

KIA’s Strategic Offensive in the North

The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) launched an offensive against and took control of Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) outposts with allied forces from the AA, Kachin People’s Defense Forces (K-PDF), and other allied groups. This latest offense occurred only 20 miles from the MAF’s Northern Command. The alliance was able to seize strategic Myitkyina-Bhamo roads, strategic mountainous terrain, and over 20 strategic guard camps and outposts in the direction of Laiza, the KIA’s headquarters. The strategic seizures also included Hkaya Bum, control of which could pose a threat to Laiza. Lisu People’s Militia leader Siri Pyan Chi Shwe Min, favored by the SAC, also died during the offensive. He was a political party leader before the coup, later becoming a militia leader. Col. Nawbu, spokesperson of the KIA, confirmed that the allied forces were continuing to target strategic military installations surrounding Laiza. Alongside the ongoing offensive near Laiza, clashes have also been reported in Hpakant and Putao townships.

Myanmar Affairs Raised in Thai Parliament

Earlier this month, a seminar on Myanmar was discussed in the Thai Parliament, with representatives from the NUG, various EAOs, CSOs, Student Union leaders, experts, and media present. The Thai Parliament’s involvement in this matter is notable, especially considering the close relationship between the Thai government and the SAC. Regarding the discussion, the SAC cried foul, sending a letter strongly objecting to the Thai government. Mr. Rangsiman Rome, head of the House Committee on National Security, Border Affairs, National Strategy and National Reform, which was responsible for organizing the event, stated this initiative to be the first step for all stakeholders of Myanmar’s affairs to engage in a dialogue. However, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand, Mr. Parnpree, who proposed the humanitarian initiative, was absent from the event. The discussion was organized by the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), and the vice-chair of the Parliament, who is close to the party, made an opening speech. The new Thai government had already been actively engaged in diplomatic relations with neighboring countries. Efforts are currently underway to address the Myanmar issue through humanitarian diplomatic channels. Additionally, plans are in place to establish a humanitarian safe zone at Mae Sot, along the Thai-Myanmar border. Meanwhile, a Thai Navy Rear Admiral embarked on a friendship trip to Yangon accompanied by a warship.

The Rise of Princelings – 2

An Upturn of Ta’ang’s Non-Royal Leadership (Ngattapa Min)

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