A leader of ethnic Kachin rebels fighting in northern Myanmar says that trust in the country's military-dominated government is at an all-time low despite years of peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict in the country's jade-rich north.

But rebel Gen. Sumlut Gun Maw says the insurgent group is still committed to dialogue because it is "the only way forward."

Strained negotiations between the government and ethnic rebels were dealt a severe blow Nov. 19 when the army fired artillery at a Kachin military academy near their headquarters in Laiza on the Chinese border, killing 23 people.

Fighting between the two sides flared anew in 2011, ending a truce that had held for 17 years and forcing more than 120,000 people to flee.