Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

Beijing (Reuters) – China said on Monday that it “noted” the military coup in Myanmar and hoped that all parties could properly manage their differences under the constitution and maintain stability.

“We have noted what has happened in Myanmar and are in the process of further understanding the situation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news talk in Beijing.

“China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar. We hope that all sides in Myanmar can properly handle their differences and protect political and social stability under the constitution and legal framework,” he said.

Last month, Wang Yi, the top diplomat of the Chinese government, met military chief Min Aung Helling, who now holds power, during a visit to Myanmar.

Asked if Myanmar had indicated during Wang Yi’s visit that there might be a coup, or China would condemn the coup, spokesman Wang reiterated his previous statement.

China has long played an important role in East Burma, which had stood by the country during its past time as a military dictatorship, but worked closely with Aung San Suu Kyi when he became leader.

Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi has been detained in the morning raids along with other leaders of his National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

China has strategic economic interests in Myanmar, with the country’s major oil and gas pipeline.

China is also advancing the Sino-Myanmar Economic Corridor, a network – some of which are existing and some planned – undergoing transportation and other projects where ethnic minority factions often fight each other and government forces.

Fighting in northeastern Myanmar sometimes sends refugees fleeing along China’s border into Beijing’s anger.

(Reporting by Yu Lun Tian; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill and Philip Fletcher)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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