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China warns ASEAN countries to be alert to 'external forces' interference in Myanmar

News Agencies | Updated on: 6 April 2021, 12:52 IST
Wang Yi

China has called on Southeast Asian nations to be on alert against external interference in Myanmar as the military junta in the country faces international criticism and pressure to restore the civilian government.

China has been accused of aiding the Mynamar military in the Feburary 1 coup.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi accused external forces of provoking "trouble and intensifying divisions" in Myanmar. The remarks have come amid rising tensions between China and western countries over a slew of issues.

Wang made the remarks while wrapping up his week-long series of meetings with his counterparts from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines in Fujian, South China Morning Post reported.

"We are aware that we have to be alert to some external forces infiltrating Myanmar with ulterior motives, provoking trouble and intensifying divisions, which makes the situation more complicated," Wang told Chinese state media following the meetings.

China has refrained from condemning the coup, which has seen over 500 protesters killed, leading to rising anti-China sentiment and complaints in Myanmar that it is siding with the military junta.

Beijing has denied involvement in the coup and Wang said China would continue to maintain contact and communication with all parties in Myanmar.

Western countries have condemned the Feburary 1 coup by the Myanmar military, which has thrown the southeastern country into political chaos. The west has been pressuring the military to release detained leaders including Aung San Sui Kyi.

The US and UK have imposed sanctions on Myanmar's two military conglomerates in a move that significantly ratchets up pressure on the country's leadership. Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) control significant portions of Myanmar's economy, with interests across many of the country's major industries.

The United States has also suspended all engagement with Myanmar under a 2013 trade and investment agreement until the return of a democratically elected government.

Wang said China is willing to coordinate positions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in a timely manner and provide necessary assistance to the bloc.

He continued: "We call on all parties in Myanmar to exercise the utmost restraint to stop violence and prevent another bloody conflict that aggravates civilian casualties. We all urge all parties in Myanmar to seek political understanding through dialogue within the constitution and legal framework as soon as possible."

On Monday protests continued calling for the restoration of the civilian government led by Aung San Sui Kyi. Activists said six people were killed at the weekend as police and soldiers used force to break up demonstrations that some protesters are calling a "spring revolution".


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First published: 6 April 2021, 12:52 IST