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China’s Myanmar envoy holds high-level talks after signs of strained ties

YANGON, Nov 24 — China’s ambassador to Myanmar has met top officials there for talks on stability on their common border, Myanmar media reported on Friday, after recent signs that their relationship has been coming under rare strain.

Northeastern Myanmar regions on the border with China have been rocked for the past month by an ethnic minority insurgent offensive against forces of Myanmar’s military rulers.

At the same time, Chinese and Myanmar junta officials have launched a crackdown in the region on gangs operating internet fraud centres that China blames for cheating many of its people. As part of that drive, Myanmar handed over tens of thousands Chinese telecom fraud suspects this month.

Both Myanmar state media and China’s embassy reported that Chinese ambassador Chen Hai met Myanmar’s military-appointed foreign minister, Than Swe, and military officials in the capital Naypyitaw on Thursday.

They discussed “bilateral relations, continued implementation of mutually beneficial bilateral projects” and “cooperation in peace and stability and rule of law along the border areas”, the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported. The Chinese embassy gave no details.

The insurgent offensive on the Myanmar side of the border and the drive against the online fraud gangs, many organised by Chinese criminals, has shone a spotlight on relations between Beijing and the Myanmar junta.

China has been supportive of the Myanmar military since it overthrew an elected government in a 2021 coup but Chinese authorities have for years had complex cross-border relations with factions in northeast Myanmar often outside the control of the central government.

Myanmar authorities have long suspected China of meddling in support of some militia factions.

On the weekend, in a rare rally in Myanmar since a sweeping crackdown on dissent, dozens of nationalist protesters gathered outside the Chinese embassy in the main city of Yangon with banners and posters critical of Beijing.

“We request China government don’t support northern terrorist groups,” read one of their posters, in English.

Authorities took no discernible action to clear the protesters, media reported.

Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun later said the protesters were opposed to the insurgents. He did not refer to their call for China not to support the rebels but accused the Western media of trying to destroy Myanmar’s relations with China.

China has called for peace and stability in Myanmar. 

Source: Malay Mail

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