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China welcomes Myanmar ceasefire
June 12, 2015, 10:59 am

A Buddhist monk feeds sea gulls at Botahtaung Jetty in Yangon, Myanmar, March 12, 2015 [Xinhua]

A Buddhist monk feeds sea gulls at Botahtaung Jetty in Yangon, Myanmar, March 12, 2015 [Xinhua]

China on Friday welcomed the ceasefire in northeast Myanmar.

“We hope the conflicting sides can show restraint and stop the war as soon as possible,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei, referring to Thursday’s declaration of a unilateral ceasefire from the ethnic Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

“China supports all sides in Myanmar to solve their disputes through negotiation, realize peace and national reconciliation at an early date, and jointly maintain stability in the border areas. This is in the interests of both countries,” Hong said in Beijing.

“To this end, in accordance with Myanmar’s will, China is playing an active and constructive role in promoting the peace process in northern Myanmar, which is welcomed by the Myanmar side. China will continue to play an active role in it,” he added.

The ethnic Chinese Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) announced the ceasefire which came into effect on Wednesday.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is currently in China.

China has traditionally close ties with Myanmar, earlier called Burma.

Tensions along the Myanmar side of the Chinese border has aggravated over the recent past as the Myanmar government was besieged by demands of greater autonomy from several ethnic groups.

China has repeatedly raised the issue of reconciliation to halt the civilian strife in Myanmar and called for a ceasefire between government troops and the rebel groups.

Artillery shells exchanged last year between the two fighting sides in Myanmar had flown over the border more than a couple of times and landed inside China.

Fighting erupted in 2010 between the Myanmar government security forces and the ethnic rebel group Kachin Independence Army (KIA) after a 16-year-old truce collapsed.

A tentative agreement between the KIA, a major rebel group, and the provincial Nay Pyi Taw government was reached in October 2013.

China and Myanmar also share major energy and transport projects and thriving trade ties.

The Myanmar-China natural gas pipeline, China’s fourth strategic energy supply channel, was completed in October 2013.

The pipeline is expected to send 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually to Myanmar and southwest China, which will reduce coal consumption by 30.72 million tonnes per year.

The project is billed as one of energy-hungry China’s most important strategic investments.

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China’s top oil and gas producer, owns the pipelines.

It is part of the $2.5 billion Myanmar-China Oil and Gas Pipeline project, which also includes building a crude oil pipeline.

 

TBP and Agencies

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