China urges Myanmar to restore border stability as conflict between armed groups and junta intensifies


China has called on Myanmar’s ruling junta to work with it to strengthen security on their shared border amid escalating fighting between government forces and armed groups.

Nong Rong, an assistant foreign minister, was dispatched to Naypyidaw over the weekend in an apparent effort to ease tensions, a week after armed groups in Myanmar launched a major offensive against the military government in the country’s northeast.

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In a foreign ministry statement released on Monday, Nong urged that border stability be restored quickly and that strong measures be taken to protect Chinese residents near the border region, as well as infrastructure and personnel in Myanmar.

“As a friendly neighbour, China sincerely hopes that Myanmar will restore stability and development as soon as possible, and supports all parties in Myanmar to properly resolve differences within the constitutional and legal framework and achieve reconciliation through dialogue.


More than 2,100 political prisoners pardoned by Myanmar junta

More than 2,100 political prisoners pardoned by Myanmar junta

“[China] asked Myanmar to cooperate with us to maintain stability on the China-Myanmar border, effectively ensure the personal and property safety of Chinese border residents, and take effective measures to strengthen the security of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Myanmar,” Nong said in the statement.

China and Myanmar’s shared border runs for 2,000km (1,250 miles).

Nong’s trip came as Chinese residents and infrastructure in the region faced growing security risks from heavy fighting near the border. Unconfirmed reports online said that Chinese homes in the border city of Ruili had been damaged by shelling. One picture showed what appeared to be craters on a road left by shell impacts.

It is unclear whether there were any Chinese casualties, and the Chinese government has not confirmed the reports.

China has maintained strong economic ties with Myanmar, a key supporter of the Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia. A major railway project that will link China’s Yunnan province with the town of Kyaukphyu in Myanmar’s Rakhine state could be postponed because of the conflict. During his visit, Nong said he hoped that the two countries would continue to deepen their belt and road partnerships with “high-quality” cooperation.
During his visit, Nong also inspected the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines, a landmark belt and road project running between Myanmar’s water port in Kyaukphyu and Yunnan province that is capable of transporting 6 billion cubic meters (212 billion cubic feet) of natural gas and more than 10 million tonnes (71.5 million barrels) of crude oil each year, according to reports from China’s state media.

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Nong was received by the junta government’s foreign minister Than Shwe and deputy foreign minister Lwin Oo. According to a Myanmar foreign ministry statement, both agreed to work with China to further promote bilateral and international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation.

The economic framework was proposed by late Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in 2014 with states along the Lancang-Mekong river, which also include Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Nong also promised to continue a cross-border cybercrime crackdown with Myanmar. The two countries have recently ramped up joint operations to target cybercrimes recently, with a total of 2,317 scam suspects being transferred back to Chinese police as a result of the operations this year, according to Chinese Public Security Ministry data.


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