China says it will back neighbor Myanmar “no matter how the situation changes,” in the latest show of unequivocal Chinese support for the ruling military council that seized power last year.
China “has always placed Myanmar in an important position in its neighborly diplomacy” and wants to “deepen exchanges and cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin on Friday, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
The sides should accelerate work on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, step up construction of “major landmark projects” and “deepen solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wang said.
“No matter how the situation changes, China will support Myanmar in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions,” Wang said.
Wang called on the two sides to accelerate the construction of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), better carry out major landmark projects, and deepen solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
For his part, U Wunna Maung Lwin said that Myanmar fully supports China's positions on issues concerning its core interests, and thanked China for its tremendous support of Myanmar's development and fight against the pandemic.
Myanmar is willing to expand economic and trade cooperation with China, accelerate the construction of the CMEC, and push for more tangible outcomes under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, said U Wunna Maung Lwin
The two sides had in-depth communication on regional cooperation. They also exchanged views on issues including the South China Sea and the Ukraine crisis.
A coup d'état in Myanmar began on the morning of 1 February 2021, when democratically elected members of the country's ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), were deposed by the Tatmadaw—Myanmar's military—which then vested power in a stratocracy.
Acting president Myint Swe proclaimed a year-long state of emergency and declared power had been transferred to Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Min Aung Hlaing.
It declared the results of the November 2020 general election invalid and stated its intent to hold a new election at the end of the state of emergency.
The coup d'état occurred the day before the Parliament of Myanmar was due to swear in the members elected at the 2020 election, thereby preventing this from occurring.
President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained, along with ministers, their deputies, and members of Parliament.
On 16 February 2021, in reaction to protesters outside the Chinese embassy in Yangon, blaming China for the coup d'état, the Chinese ambassador Chen Hai said “the current development in Myanmar is absolutely not what China wants to see”. He dismissed the claim that China supports military rule in Myanmar as a “ridiculous rumour”.
Nonetheless, Chinese factories in the country were set ablaze as Burmese protesters did not trust China's response, leaving 39 people dead on 15 March; the Chinese embassy in Myanmar later responded by condemning the arson attacks, but was ridiculed by the protesters for not offering any sympathy to the protest movement. China also continued to supply food to Myanmar, which was seen by some as supportive of the military junta.
In mid-March 2021, China–Myanmar relations had seriously frayed due to ongoing civil unrest and military rule, jeopardizing Chinese investments in the country.
In another report, it was stated that Myanmar's junta is trying to improve relations with the United States through the employment of a former Israeli military intelligence official.
According to the source, Aung San Suu Kyi had grown too close to China for the generals’ liking. China has not supported military rule in Myanmar and attempts to resolve the conflict peacefully without foreign interference.
Despite these statements, China has been, alongside Russia, frequently vetoing any UN resolutions condemning the increasing brutality of the Burmese military junta for fear of additional sanctions that would hurt the region economically.
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