Although the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and the government are preparing for a new round of peace talks, the Burma Army is still sending more battalions to the battlefields in Kachin State.On 18 December, the government sent a letter to KIO to resume peace talks. The day before on 17 December, the battalions under the 44th Light Infantry Division arrived at Myitkyina and the high command is reportedly preparing to send the 66th Light Infantry Division also, according to U Aung Kyaw Zaw, military observer on the border.
"The 88th suffered 356 dead and injured during 3 month period. It will be replaced with the 66th. Defense Chief Min Aung Hlaing went to Pyay where the 66th is based. He told the 66th not to fail like the 88th," he said.
The Burma Army is still preparing for war, even as the government is preparing for negotiations with KIO for peace, he added.
U Aung Thaung is leading the team to hold talks with the KIO. He had requested to meet the KIO after President U Thein Sein ordered a ceasefire on 10 December. But more troops are still arriving, according to him.
There are about 120 infantry battalions in Kachin and Shan State (North) launching an offensive against the KIA, the military wing of the KIO.