China hopes Burma will ensure peace and stability along their border and keep stray bullets out of its neighbour’s territory, the defence ministry said on Wednesday, after a senior Chinese military commander visited the Southeast Asian country this week.
A series of attacks by ethnic armed groups on Burmese security forces last month sent thousands of people crossing into China to escape the violence, with minor damage reported from stray shells and bullets.
During the four-day visit that began on Sunday, Zhao Zongqi, commander of China’s western military district, met senior Burmese military officials, China’s defence ministry said in a short statement.
“China is concerned at the armed clashes in northern Myanmar injuring Chinese border residents, and hopes Myanmar can strengthen border management, prevent stray bullets entering into China and maintain the peace and tranquility of the border,” it said.
In response, Burma said it would “appropriately handle” the border issue and ensure stability to prevent injuries for Chinese residents, it added.
The attacks have dealt a major blow to Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s key goal of reaching peace with ethnic minorities, while China worries about the risk of violence spilling over as it did last year, killing five Chinese people.
China is already involved in the peace process, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi telling a delegation from Burma last month that China was willing to play a constructive role.