China urges Myanmar to address ethnic conflict

Last Updated: Friday, August 28, 2009 - 18:52

Beijing: China on Friday issued a rare
admonishment to its southern neighbour and ally Myanmar,
urging it to resolve an ethnic conflict that has driven at
least 10,000 refugees into Chinese territory.

"(China) hopes that Myanmar can appropriately solve its
relevant internal problems and safeguard the stability of the
China-Myanmar border," foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu
said in a statement.
"We also urge Myanmar to protect the safety and legal
rights of Chinese citizens in Myanmar," said the statement,
posted on the ministry`s website.

A battle in Myanmar`s remote Shan state between the army
and the Kokang rebel group broke out yesterday, in violation
of a 20-year ceasefire, according to the US Campaign for Burma
(USCB), which uses Myanmar`s former name.

China is one of Myanmar`s closest allies, its main source
of military hardware and a major consumer of its vast natural
resources, despite Western concerns over the military-ruled
nation`s rights record.
The impact of US and European sanctions against Myanmar
has been weakened by neighbours such as China spending
billions of dollars on the country`s natural gas, timber and
precious stones.

China has in the past vetoed UN Security Council
resolutions condemning its isolated neighbour. The countries
share a 2,200-kilometre border.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, August 28, 2009 - 18:52
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