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China FM meets Myanmar junta chief: military

China foreign minister calls to 'stabilise relations' with US
Source: Video Screenshot

China’s foreign minister met Myanmar‘s junta chief on Tuesday, the military said, the highest-ranking Chinese official to meet the country’s top general since a coup more than two years ago.

Myanmar has been riven by violence since the putsch that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in February 2021.

China is a major ally and arms supplier of the internationally isolated junta and has refused to condemn the military takeover.

China “stands with Myanmar on the international stage”, Foreign Minister Qin Gang told junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, according to a Burmese-language statement from the junta’s information department.

China’s foreign ministry did not offer any immediate comment following the meeting.

Qin — the most senior Chinese official to meet Min Aung Hlaing in Myanmar since the coup — will remain in the country until Thursday, according to the junta.

Myanmar state media footage showed the Chinese official being received by Min Aung Hlaing in a meeting hall decked with gold curtains and red wallpaper.

The two discussed “diplomatic relations, friendly cooperation, the recent situation in Myanmar, border trade, investments and cooperation on energy and electricity”, the junta statement said.

Qin also met Myanmar’s military-appointed Foreign Minister Than Swe, the statement added.

Several Beijing-backed infrastructure projects are slated to run through northern Myanmar and link China’s landlocked Yunnan province with the Indian Ocean.

Beijing also backs and arms several ethnic rebel groups along its border with Myanmar, analysts say.

Some of these groups have clashed repeatedly with the Myanmar military in the aftermath of the coup, and an alliance of China-backed rebels in March called for Beijing’s help to defuse the crisis.

Qin’s predecessor, Wang Yi, visited the country in July last year, meeting with his Myanmar counterpart but not the junta chief.

China appointed a special envoy to Myanmar, Deng Xijun, in December, who has met the junta leader at least twice since then, as well as ethnic rebel leaders.

On Tuesday, Qin visited the China-Myanmar border, calling for “friendship and cooperation” between the two countries.

After his Myanmar visit, Qin will travel to India for a meeting of foreign ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Chinese foreign ministry said without providing details on his itinerary.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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