Last week in the East Asia Pacific region, the Myanmar military and resistance groups fought for the control of bases and camps in Kachin state and Bago and Sagaing regions. Meanwhile, military airstrikes and shelling resulted in several reported civilian deaths, while a nurse reportedly died while in military custody. North Korea continued to conduct weapons tests for a sixth consecutive week. In Thailand, demonstrations and violence increased while the 2022 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit was held in Bangkok. In Indonesia, demonstrations took place in the backdrop of the G20 Summit held in Bali on 15-16 November. In Papua New Guinea, clan militias agreed to a ceasefire in Paiam after nearly six months of violent clashes.
In Myanmar, fighting between the military and local resistance groups was reported in multiple states and regions last week. In eastern Bago region, the combined forces of Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army (KNU/KNLA) and local resistance groups attacked and occupied Baw Ka Htar, Tone Ta Dar, and Than Seik military camps on 12 November. Weapons and ammunition were seized during the clashes, and 11 military soldiers were reportedly killed (Irrawaddy, 14 November 2022). Following the clashes, the military responded with airstrikes against the combined forces and on nearby villages.
Meanwhile, the military raided and occupied checkpoints and frontline camps of the People’s Defense Force (PDF) in Hpakant township, Kachin state (Myanmar Now, 16 November 2022). The military advanced in the area on 15 November, clashing with the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) and PDF combined forces, forcing them to retreat. Troops at the military base in Hpakant town also fired artillery at the combined forces during and after the fighting. ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker warned of increased violence in Kachin state during the preceding four weeks.
In Sagaing region, the military set fire to the bases of six local resistance groups in Tamu township last week. The military blockaded the sites and clashed with the resistance groups, forcing them to retreat to the Indian border before setting fire to their camps (Myanmar Now, 16 November 2022).
Deadly military airstrikes and shelling targeting civilians were reported in Rakhine, Chin, Kayin, and Kayah states last week. Notably, in Rakhine state, a shell fired by the military hit a house hosting a child’s birthday ceremony in Maungdaw township, reportedly killing at least 10 civilians and injuring several others (Democratic Voice of Burma, 16 November 2022).
Elsewhere, it was reported last week that a nurse from the Mandalay Women’s Central Hospital who had participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement died while in a military interrogation center in Mandalay’s Royal Palace compound (Irrawaddy, 18 November 2022). The interrogation center inside the palace has become notorious for the torture of dissidents since the military coup (Myanmar Now, 3 January 2022). The news came the same week that the junta released several high-profile political prisoners, a common tactic of the military to relieve international pressure (South China Morning Post, 23 November 2022).
North Korea continued to carry out weapons tests for the sixth consecutive week last week. On 17 November, North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile from Wonsan toward the ocean off the country’s east coast. The next day, an intermediate-range ballistic missile was launched from Pyongyang, landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, west of Hokkaido (NY Times, 18 November 2022).
In Thailand, demonstrations and violence levels increased last week, coinciding with the 2022 APEC summit hosted in Bangkok from 16 to 18 November. Led by the People’s Party, several groups held three days of demonstrations outside Bangkok City Hall to call upon Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to cancel the Bio-Circular-Green Economy policy, which attracts conglomerates to invest in local natural resources and land, withdraw as host of the APEC summit, and dissolve parliament to make way for a new election and constitution. On 18 November, the demonstration turned violent when the police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators as they were attempting to march to the summit’s venue at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, resulting in 21 injuries.
In the Deep South of the country, suspected Malay Muslim separatists carried out a series of explosive attacks last week. On 13 November, suspected separatists detonated two bombs in Chanae, Narathiwat province. While the first explosion targeted civilians, killing one and injured two, the second explosion targeted the police response to the first explosion, killing one officer and injuring another. On 15 November, two gas stations were destroyed and one person was injured after planted bombs detonated in Pattani province, and a fire was set at a telephone booth in Yala province. These attacks were followed by further explosions in Pattani province on 16 November, and in Narathiwat province on 17 November.
In Indonesia, multiple demonstrations took place last week, coinciding with the G20 Summit held in Bali on 15-16 November. In West Nusa Tenggara province, police arrested over 20 students from the Indonesian People’s Assembly civic movement during demonstrations. The group joined mass actions to voice various concerns to G20 Summit attendants, including United States President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Kompas, 16 November 2022). In Papua, people demonstrated to demand the right to self-determination and an end to the Papua conflict. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd and arrested seven protesters during the demonstrations. Amnesty International criticized the repression of civic space during the summit, and called for the G20 leaders to protect the right to the freedom of expression (Amnesty US, 15 November 2022).
In Papua New Guinea, Nomali and Aiyala clan militias agreed to a ceasefire in Paiam on 14 November after nearly six months of violent clashes over a land dispute affecting the Porgera mine (The National, 17 November 2022). Both factions agreed to settle remaining grievances in court, and the Porgera mine is expected to re-open in January 2023 (One PNG, 13 November 2022).
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.