The unstable situation in Myanmar.

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Well, it seems that what many people were afraid of and expected, did turn out.

A military coup and the state of emergency.




"Mobile internet data connections and some phone services have been disrupted in major cities.
BBC World News television, as well as other international broadcasters, are blocked while local stations are off air.
Banks have temporarily halted all financial services, according to the Myanmar Banks Association."

In this time of the pandemic and world economy under pressure, this coup d'etat will certainly damage the economy of Myanmar even more.
This will be also devastating for the image of Myanmar, known for decades of military dictatorship and human rights abuse.
 
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CheeZe

Active Member
Analysis from the NYT: In Myanmar Coup, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Ends as Neither Democracy Hero nor Military Foil (msn.com)

I don't always agree with the NYT but it does go into a lot of detail behind the politics, for anyone who needs to get caught up. I was especially intrigued by this part.
Even as Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was excusing the military for its decades of persecution, her relationship with General Min Aung Hlaing was fraying, according to her advisers and retired military officers.
Naturally, they would speak under conditions of anonymity. What intrigues me is whether these "retired" officers were involved or will become involved in this coup.

Now to wait and see what, if anything, ASEAN does.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Any rumours of CCP “suggestions” to the Myanmar military leaders? I can’t imagine Xi is distressed from this event!
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
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  • #4

The military of Myanmar knew that sanctions can come from the US and other Western countries, but ofcourse countries like china will welcome such sanctions and will grab the chance to fully support the military coup in exchange for more influence.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update 1: Sanctions to follow coup d'état,

1. Just 10 years after initiating a transition to civilian rule, the Tatmadaw is back in control in Myanmar, with top civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint detained. With soldiers out in the streets and phone and internet services cut in large parts of the country, ASEAN has a slight acceptance problem with one of its key members.

2. Hours after the coup, the Tatmadaw declared a one-year state of emergency, using as a pretext the NLD government’s alleged failure to act on its claims of “terrible fraud”. It also pledged new elections, but did not provide a time frame, and announced that power had been handed over to the 64 year old Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the de facto leader of Myanmar and Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces.

3. As the architect of Myanmar's 2008 Constitution, the Tatmadaw enshrined a permanent role for itself in the political system. It gets an unelected quota of 25% of parliamentary seats and its chief appoints ministers of defence, interior and border affairs, ensuring a key stake in politics, which has made for an awkward power-sharing arrangement with the NLD. Myanmar Generals, the gift that keeps giving.

4. US President Biden has been briefed by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The US continues to affirm their strong support for Myanmar’s democratic institutions and, in coordination with ASEAN, urge the Tatmadaw and all other parties to adhere to democratic norms and the rule of law, and to release those detained.

5. The Biden’s team is likely to make a determination that deposing of a duly elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi constituted a military coup and the determination will trigger related restrictions and sanctions. The Americans had removed economic sanctions on Myanmar in 2016. But many of the key figures in the Myanmar military are under restrictions for human rights violations, including those related to the Rohingya people.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update 2: Regional views on the coup d'état,

6. The US is providing nearly US$135 million in bilateral assistance to Burma in FY2020; but only a very small portion, is assistance to the government. So there is a small sliver of that foreign assistance that would actually be implicated. The Biden administration has formally determined that the military takeover in Myanmar constitutes a coup d'état, a designation that requires the US to cut its foreign assistance to the country. "After careful review of the facts and circumstances, we have assessed that Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Burma's ruling party, and Win Myint, the duly elected head of government, were deposed in a military coup on February 1," a State Department official said.

7. Following the installation of Myint Swe, the vice president and a former general, as acting president, the military declared a one-year state of emergency. "If we do not approach this well, Myanmar could grow further away from politically free democratic nations and join the league of China," State Minister of Defence Yasuhide Nakayama told Reuters in an interview, saying Japan should discuss a common strategy with its allies.
(a) Japan, a major aid donor with longstanding close ties to Myanmar, responded by calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her civilian government, and the restoration of democracy.​
(b) Since 2014, through in-country seminars and other programs, Japan's defense ministry has been training Myanmar's military officers on underwater medicine, aviation meteorology, disaster relief and Japanese language. The two countries also have an academic exchange programme, under which eight cadets from the Myanmar military are currently studying at Japan's National Defense Academy.​
(c) Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has discussed the military coup with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and the chairman of ASEAN (currently, Brunei). ASEAN member-states Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia expressed concern over the military takeover, calling for restraint and a peaceful resolution to the unfolding coup. "These events are particularly concerning because the political stability of ASEAN member states is essential to achieving a peaceful and secure region, a prosperous and open Indo-Pacific," Payne told the Australian Senate. "ASEAN of course is at the centre of our vision for the Indo-Pacific region."​
(d) Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops have provided about A$1.5 million in training, assistance and English lessons to members of the Myanmar military for several years. If the Australians make the mistake of deciding to cut military-to-military ties, the ADF would be without contacts or a voice (like the Americans and be in the same position as Gen. Mark Milley — without even a phone number to call in Myanmar) — any government deciding to cut ties with the Tatmadaw is easy — it’s just no one will pick up your call once that happens.​
(e) ASEAN’s current chair, Brunei, called for ‘dialogue among parties, reconciliation and the return to normalcy’. Expect little to be done as ASEAN member states are split in their reactions. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia expressed concern, while Thailand, and Cambodia noted that this was Myanmar’s ‘internal affair.’ As of Jan 2020, Singapore companies and its sovereign wealth funds have made a cumulative investment of US$22.7 billion (S$26 billion) into Myanmar according to Enterprise Singapore; which means the Singapore Government has skin in the game (for a peaceful outcome).​

8. China’s reaction has been largely predictable. The foreign ministry spokesperson ‘noted’ the situation in Myanmar and hoped that ‘all parties in Myanmar will properly handle their differences under the constitution and legal framework to maintain political and social stability’. Today, following news of the UN Security Council meeting, the foreign ministry spokesperson noted that any international action should help political and social stability in Myanmar and avoid intensifying conflict.

9. As Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin noted, China is a friendly neighbour to Myanmar. The carefully cultivated ties with Myanmar’s government have further facilitated China’s deepening relationship with another ASEAN member state, offering material support and cover from international pressure over the situation in the Rakhine State within the UN Security Council. President Xi Jinping’s first overseas trip in 2020 was to Myanmar and China is reportedly the second-largest investor.

10. Despite the fact that Biden’s team has called it a coup, this American administration (being only a few days in power), has little or no leverage and even fewer contacts.
(a) U.S. officials, including Gen. Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been trying to reach their counterparts in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. But according to information from U.S. officials so far, there’s been no luck in reaching key figures, including the deposed de facto civilian ruler Aung San Suu Kyi.​
(b) The coup d'état is a major foreign policy crisis facing Biden just days into his tenure. Biden, who has pledged to promote democracy and human rights globally, has decried the takeover and said his administration is weighing imposing sanctions on the Asian country.​

(c) Therefore, the Americans are likely to have ongoing conversations with Australia, India, Japan, and other countries that have better relations with Myanmar, in the wake of the army seizing power in the country through a coup d'état.​
(d) Among Myanmar’s neighbours in the region, the reactions were more measured. India released a statement expressing concern and reiterating its support for Myanmar’s democratic transition. However, New Delhi will likely be cautious of overtly criticising the military owing to its deepening security relationship with the Tatmadaw and cooperation on counterinsurgency and border management along its troubled north-eastern border (which included a three-week long coordinated operation in May 2019). A joint visit in Oct 2020 to Myanmar by India’s foreign secretary and chief of army staff reflected the importance of security ties to the bilateral relationship. India for example, also gifted a Kilo class submarine UMS Minye Theinkhathu to the Tatmadaw.​
(e) Myanmar serves an important function for India as the only ASEAN member that it shares a land border with, making it an important feature in its ‘Act East’ policy, which is intended to expand India’s relationships with Southeast and East Asian countries. Myanmar is pivotal to two major projects under this policy, the India–Myanmar–Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project, which includes the development of a deep-water port at Sittwe (Rakhine State, Myanmar).​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update 3: Taking a wild guess on next steps

11. The clear trend under Blinken (State) and Sullivan (NSA) seems to be allies matter and they will be consulted. The United States is more focused in on closer trilateral coordination between the Americans, Japanese and Australians to approach the problem presented by the coup — which will lead to better more coherent responses — there will be knee jerk sanctions to make Biden’s team look decisive — but that doesn’t do much, as US aid to Myanmar does not give the State department the needed leverage.

12. I would not be surprised if the US continues an active engagement in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or acting in concert with G7 countries, to adopt a common position, and continue with other engagements like EAS and ADMM Plus to ensure that China does not win by default.

13. The key here, the missing piece, is what is going to be the trade strategy. There is a need — a desire — across the Indian-Pacific region to see a coherent American approach. Keeping in mind that China will overtake the US to become the world's largest economy by 2028, five years earlier than previously forecast. The Centre for Economics and Business Research says China is expected to average economic growth of 5.7% a year from 2021 to 2025 before slowing to 4.5% a year from 2026 to 2030. "For some time, an overarching theme of global economics has been the economic and soft power struggle between the United States and China," says the Centre for Economics and Business Research report. "The Covid-19 pandemic and corresponding economic fallout have certainly tipped this rivalry in China's favour."

14. The UN Security Council is negotiating a possible statement, drafted by Britain, as rotating chair, that would condemn the coup, call for the military to respect the rule of law and human rights, and immediately release those unlawfully detained, diplomats said. Given that such UN Security Council statements have to be agreed by consensus, the chance of it being issued in a timely manner is zero. The US Senate needs to quickly confirm Linda Thomas-Greenfield, as UN Ambassador so that she can act for team Biden / Blinken.

15. China, backed by Russia, shielded Myanmar from any significant UN Security Council action after a 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State sent more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh, where they are still stranded. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Western states accused the Myanmar military of ethnic cleansing, which it denied.
 
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Musashi_kenshin

Active Member
The UN Security Council is negotiating a possible statement, drafted by Britain, as rotating chair, that would condemn the coup, call for the military to respect the rule of law and human rights, and immediately release those unlawfully detained, diplomats said.
That has now been blocked by China. I expect that they will veto anything that condemns the coup or even calls it a coup, as they will want to build good relations with the military assuming that the coup is not reversed. Indeed it wouldn't be surprising if they now go all-in with the junta, as they're kind of burning their bridges with the civilian government by protecting the junta from UN condemnation. There's only so many times you can do deals with China before getting tired of them protecting your enemies.

Rather than angry protests it seems that citizens have taken to banging pots at night and medical workers engaging in civil disobedience. That makes it harder for the junta to crack down in an obvious way by shooting protesters or conducting mass arrests, but it also gives them valuable breathing room and time to normalise renewed military rule. The question is what will happen assuming the military ignore the protests or start arresting medics. Will they escalate or will people just grumble and get on with their lives.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Apparently the PRC state media are calling the coup a Cabinet reshuffle, which is really stretching the boundaries of logic. Even Joseph Goebells would be impressed with that line of logic.
Myanmar coup: China blocks UN condemnation as protest grows

Meanwhile Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with illegally importing communications equipment when 6 portable radios were allegedly discovered at her residence by the police. Win Myint has been charged with Covid-19 violations.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Just another CCP move that should galvanize the world to quarantine the PRC.
Yes, the Myanmar people can make noise and hit on pans as much as they want, but the Tatmadaw doesnt care about democracy and human rights.
As long china support Myanmar, nothing will chance, because not only china will block everything in the UN Security Council, at the moment other countries will come with sanctions, boycots and embargoes, china will gladly fill up the hole as 'Myanmars' best friend'.

Isolating china sounds like a cool plan, but because Japan, South-Korea and the whole Western World have invested and give free ToT as insanes since the '80s, its actually too late.
 

CheeZe

Active Member
Just another CCP move that should galvanize the world to quarantine the PRC.
That plan has worked so well with N. Korea.

At this point, there's almost nothing anyone can do to reverse the situation. If it devolves into a violent civil war, it's going to be another proxy war like Syria between "democratic" forces and "government loyalists."

(e) ASEAN’s current chair, Brunei, called for ‘dialogue among parties, reconciliation and the return to normalcy’. Expect little to be done as ASEAN member states are split in their reactions. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia expressed concern, while Thailand, and Cambodia noted that this was Myanmar’s ‘internal affair.’ As of Jan 2020, Singapore companies and its sovereign wealth funds have made a cumulative investment of US$22.7 billion (S$26 billion) into Myanmar according to Enterprise Singapore; which means the Singapore Government has skin in the game (for a peaceful outcome).
Why do I find Cambodia and Thailand's response unsurprising? S'pore may have skin in the game - but what can it actually do? If the goal is "peace" or "stability," then MFA's best move is to just sit and wait to see what happens. Rocking the boat in any way would jeopardise those investments and the fragile "stability" currently in place.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update 4: Broader Moves at ASEAN and UNSC

1 Feb 2021 —ASEAN Chairman’s Statement on The Developments in The Republic of The Union of Myanmar
  1. ASEAN Member States have been closely following the current developments in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
  2. We recall the purposes and the principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, including, the adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  3. We reiterate that the political stability in ASEAN Member States is essential to achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous ASEAN Community.
  4. We encourage the pursuance of dialogue, reconciliation and the return to normalcy in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.
4 Feb 2021, finally meeting the minimum bar for both UNSC (and referencing the ASEAN Chairman’s Statement) in a manner that even China and Russia agree.
 
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Ananda

The Bunker Group

Well, this could be interesting in the point of view to see which ASEAN members in league with PRC. Any potential discussion on Myanmar Military take over, will in the end related to PRC sphere of influence within ASEAN.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update 5: Attempting an Analysis


Well, this could be interesting in the point of view to see which ASEAN members in league with PRC. Any potential discussion on Myanmar Military take over, will in the end related to PRC sphere of influence within ASEAN.
1. The Australian diplomats, Japan, Brunei (as ASEAN chairman) and Singapore all understand the real issues — which are all internal to Myanmar; with the US commotion on 6 Jan 2021, a bonus to any would be dictator. As Christina Ruffini, of CBS correctly asked the State Department:

Q: I’m wondering if you have any insight into the timing, what triggered this move now. And we’re hearing some of the same rhetoric that we heard frankly in the end of the U.S. election, including voter fraud and things like that. And I’m wondering if you can say if what happened with the U.S. recent election and allegations of voter fraud you think emboldened the military to take this step at this time.​

Ans from the State Dept: Well, we know that the Burmese military alleged that there were – there was fraud and – in the voting process that took place in November. According to local and international observers, there were no widespread provable fraud allegations; they’re just allegations. Parliament was going to sit on Monday, and so that was the impetus for the – this latest coup.​

2. Australia, Japan, Brunei and Singapore all understand that if the problem is managed correctly, the Tatmadaw (Burmese: တပ်မတော်) can be given incentives to transition to civilian rule sooner. This is what I mean by Brunei and Singapore having skin in the game. 2 of the 4 countries, can do things that the US State department or the Australian diplomats, cannot do. Brunei as Chairman does not want the coup to get in the way of ASEAN’s substantive agenda with the US (which is shore up internal ASEAN support to TAKE A UNIFIED STANCE on the South China Sea). In this respect both the Tatmadaw and the National League for Democracy (NLD), as ruling party, are agreed that the country needs alternatives to China.

3. If you think carefully, China and its SOEs have invested in a relationship with Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD; which means the Tatmadaw is more hostile to China than the NLD.

4. Japanese control of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) gives it more leverage than the US State Department.
 
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Ananda

The Bunker Group
you think carefully, China and its SOEs have invested in a relationship with Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD; which means the Tatmadaw is more hostile to China than the NLD
It could still be both way though:

1. The Military Tatmadaw increasingly cautious the election results will give NLD more leverage to China. Thus reduce their importance in China's eyes or

2. China shown uneasiness toward NLD solidify it's hold on Myanmar politics. Thus will embolden NLD to find alternative from China as main Investment source for Myanmar.

The way I see it, everyone still doing their best guessing on what really motivate Tatmadaw to make their move toward NLD now. Everything seems from outside still relative doing well in Myanmar, thus why Tatmadaw change the status quo ? Is it only due to election result or there's real Political momentum changes within Myanmar society that prompt Tatmadaw to take action.

That's why I post, bringing Myanmar issue to the ASEAN open table can be interesting. For one thing, it can be seen whether this current Tatmadaw move is really been support by China's interest or the other way around. NLD support for Chinese Investment is also part of their self preservation. Tatmadaw until now depend on China support, thus any move by NLD that perceived not in China's interest can potentially be seen as also against Tatmadaw interest.

If Tatmadaw at this moment actually doing something that against China interest in Myanmar, it can also be reflected by the actions of ASEAN members that more or less already in China's sphere.
 

CheeZe

Active Member
Internet has been shut down in Myanmar. Likely an attempt to cut off communications between protestors and the outside world.

EDIT: Thinking a bit more, it could also be the beginning phase of a crackdown. Harder to generate foreign sympathy if images and video of military personnel using violence to suppress voters cannot be easily shared or disseminated.

 
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Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
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  • #18
Internet has been shut down in Myanmar. Likely an attempt to cut off communications between protestors and the outside world.

EDIT: Thinking a bit more, it could also be the beginning phase of a crackdown. Harder to generate foreign sympathy if images and video of military personnel using violence to suppress voters cannot be easily shared or disseminated.

Yes, the Tatmadaw is more free now to use everyting to 'restore order'.

Here some more details of the internet shutdown.

Its funny to see the Myanmar people use the same three finger salute as the Thai demonstrators. I wonder if the Myanmars copying their Thai neighbours or if they are directly inspired by the films.


Edit: it seems to be both. Even protesters in Hongkong used the salute.

Anyway in Thailand people were arrested for only performing the three-finger-salute, this can also happen in Myanmar.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Update 6: Protests grow within Myanmar

5. Myanmar has seen its largest protests in more than a decade, as tens of thousands of people rallied against the military coup and demanded the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In Yangon, people wore red shirts and held red balloons, the colour of Ms Suu Kyi's party, while cars and buses slowed to sound their horns in support. Many flashed the three-finger salute, a symbol of defiance against authoritarianism in the region.

6. Teachers, doctors and the Yangon Youth Network (an activist group), have launched a civil disobedience campaign, one of the country’s first signs of targeted action opposing the military. Protests in Yangon were the biggest since the so-called Saffron Revolution in 2007, when thousands of the country's monks rose up against the military regime. Rallies wearing red was also held in more than a dozen other cities. Internet access has now been restored after a day-long blackout.

7. On 3 Feb 2021, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke by phone with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ambassadors in Washington. Sullivan conveyed President Biden’s deep concern regarding the coup in Burma and expressed appreciation for ASEAN nations’ attention to this crisis and underscored the administration’s commitment to expanding U.S. engagement with ASEAN. There is a coordinated full court press by the US, Indonesia, Brunei (as ASEAN Chair) and Singapore on the diplomats of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Philippines to change their stance.

8. Myanmar’s coup is a disaster for Myanmar, but it also is a signifier of the continuing regression of democracy within ASEAN. The region, which once had made significant progress toward democratization, has backslid badly in recent years, with regression in former bright spots including Thailand, and the Philippines, as well as Cambodia and now Myanmar. In this respect, Manila, changed its tune on 2 Feb 2021, and also expressed worries about the military coup in Myanmar.

“The Philippine government is following with deep concern the developing situation in Myanmar, and is especially concerned with the safety of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.​

9. As I mentioned before in paragraph 3 (in Update 5), the relationship between the Tatmadaw and China is no longer as close as it once had been. The military’s original decision to begin opening up the country a decade ago had in fact been driven by hopes to diversify the country’s relations to include countries like India, Australia, Singapore and the G7. Beijing has always considered the Tatmadaw to be incompetent and corrupt. Its mysterious behaviour and unpredictable nature has not sat well with the Chinese government. Beijing tends to view the Myanmar military as ungrateful, rapacious, greedy and a poor business partner.

10. Meanwhile, the past five years of National League for Democracy (NLD) rule under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi led Beijing to realise potential in working with her government. Aung San Suu Kyi visited Beijing relatively frequently and has remarked on the need to pursue friendly relations with China. Aung San Suu Kyi’s government also signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement that China has a strong interest in. Myanmar has experienced significant economic growth under the NLD. This is in line with China’s economic interests in the region. China today is not only interested in the country’s natural resources, but is also looking for a market to sell its products. Explicit language in UN Security Council (UNSC) statement on 4 Feb 2021 in support of Aung San Suu Kyi and her government and the disapproval for the coup indicates that China has come around to offer its tacit agreement that the coup is not the right thing.

11. China has an extensive economic role in Myanmar and has helped mediate conflicts with several rebel groups there in the past, its relations with Myanmar’s leaders (including the military junta) have frequently been strained. These tensions are exacerbated further by China’s desire to use the country as a potentially important strategic hub.

12. China has invested billions of dollars to develop the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, a combination of rail and port developments designed to bypass chokepoints like the Strait of Malacca and give Beijing easy access to the Indian Ocean. But China’s interest in Myanmar is a double-edged sword: When a large and powerful neighbor starts to see your territory as strategically vital, any sensible government has to worry about preserving its own freedom of action, even as it tries to take advantage of that neighbor’s largesse.
 
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CheeZe

Active Member
With the end of the democratic government, does that mean the end of the ceasefire agreement with the various rebel groups? I haven't been able to find any reporting on this issue. I'm hoping this means that they're playing the "wait and see" game.

If, however, some of the rebels see the end of the democratic regime as the end of their agreement, this could send Myanmar into a very violent period with civilians caught in the middle.
 
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