What has China done during the military conflict in Northern Myanmar?


A picture made available on 23 November 2016 showing a view of a refugee camp near the border of China and Myanmar in Wanding town, Ruili city of Yunnan province in southwest China, 21 November 2016.  Photo: EPA

On the invitation of the Chinese side, a media delegation composed of major Myanmar mainstream media visited China-Myanmar border area recently. The delegation made in-depth interviews on the military conflicts in Northern Myanmar and the arrangement of Myanmar nationals fleeing from the conflict area.

On November 20, severe military conflicts broke out between the Myanmar national defense forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Arakan Army (AA) in Northern Myanmar. Many Myanmar nationals fled from home to seek shelter on the Chinese side of the China-Myanmar border area. The Chinese government provided shelter and help for those Myanmar nationals.

On November 29, Mr. Wang Wei, Deputy Director of the Yunnan Foreign Affairs Office, met the Myanmar media delegation in Kunming World Trade Center was interviews by the delegation. As a member of the Myanmar mainstream media delegation, Myanmar Golden Phoenix also made an in-depth interview with Mr. Wang Wei on the Northern Myanmar issue.

Here are the detailed Q&As between Myanmar media and Mr. Wang Wei:

Q: What’s the number of the Myanmar nationals fleeing to China because of the armed conflicts since November 20th?

A: Up till now, around 14,000 Myanmar nationals have fled to the Chinese side of the border.

Q: Where have the Chinese authorities been accommodating those Myanmar nationals?

A: China has set up resettlement camps for those Myanmar nationals in Mangshi and Wanding in the border area, offering aid to them. Some Myanmar nationals chose to live with their relatives in China for the moment. For those staying at the resettlement camps, the Chinese side has been providing them with daily necessities, such as rice and cooking oils, in large quantities. In addition, under the request of the Myanmar government, China also has been offering help to the Myanmar nationals at the temporary resettlement camp set up in Muse on the Myanmar side of the border.

Q: When will the Chinese government stop taking the Myanmar nationals fleeing conflict?

A: We hope the armed conflict could come to an end soon. Then those Myanmar people will be able to return home, which I believe they miss very much. On the other hand, the Chinese side won’t force them to return home.

Q: Does the Chinese government have any mediation plan so that the conflict can end at an early date?

A: As you may know, the first meeting of the China-Myanmar 2+2 High Level Consultation Mechanism between the foreign ministries and defense ministries was held on Nov. 26th. During the meeting, the Chinese side was urging the Myanmar side to end the war ASAP. Moreover, a special envoy from the Chinese foreign ministry has held talks with the related ethic armed groups on the issue. China hopes that the armed conflicts could end at an early date, and that China can help all stakeholders involved in the conflicts reach a cease-fire so that peace could be restored. During the armed conflicts in Myanmar’s border area, some artillery shells fell onto Chinese territory. And the schools in China’s Wanding have been closed since the conflict erupted.

Q: Some foreign media reported that the Chinese government had provided help to the ethnic armed groups after some of their members entered China since the conflicts broke out. What’s China’s take on this?

A: If any injured people come into China, the Chinese authorities will provide medical treatment to them in the first place. At such a critical moment, we don't have any time to investigate the identity of the injured. But what I want to stress is the stance of the Chinese government, which is no action by anyone is acceptable to undermine the peace and stability in the border area, and no one is acceptable to rely on China to fight others. The Chinese government hopes that Myanmar would restore peace via political means. We think such information carried by foreign media is inaccurate. We hope that the Myanmar media may obtain detailed and accurate information via this field investigation.

Q: Does the Chinese government plan to discuss or cooperate with the Shan State government in light of the armed conflicts?

A: In my opinion, if such discussions are needed, they’ll be carried out with the Myanmar union government.

Q: We understand that the Chinese government has nothing to do with the current war. But some Myanmar nationals think that China has connections with the conflict. Can you clarify it?

A: As for China, Myanmar is not only our friendly neighbor, but also a good friend. China looks forward to a peaceful Myanmar at an early date. And for that matter, China will consistently provide help to Myanmar. There is no way for China to do any harm to Myanmar to any extent.

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