China has urged Myanmar to “cooperate” on keeping their shared border stable after armed groups fighting the military government captured a key trading outpost.
Beijing said on Monday that Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong visited Myanmar over the weekend to discuss clashes the UN says have displaced more than 23,000 people.
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Nong met with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Than Shwe and Deputy Foreign Minister Lwin Oo during his visit.
“Myanmar is called on to cooperate with China to maintain stability along the China-Myanmar border, earnestly ensure the safety of the lives and property of Chinese border residents, and take effective measures to strengthen the security of Chinese personnel,” Nong said.
Myanmar’s ethnic minority rebel groups last week seized the border town of Chinshwehaw, a key conduit for the $1.8bn in annual trade between China and Myanmar.
The town’s capture was seen as a major blow to the military government, which has struggled to contain opposition to its rule since Senior General Min Aung Hlaing seized power in a February 2021 coup.
China on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire in Myanmar’s restive north, where a billion-dollar rail line is planned under Beijing’s $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative.
Myanmar’s military government has in recent days carried out air strikes on Laiza, a remote town on the Chinese border, which is home to the Kachin Independence Army that Naypyidaw says has joined attacks on its forces.
China has supported Myanmar’s military government since the coup, urging Western countries that have rolled out sanctions against military leaders to respect its sovereignty.