Burma has apologised to China for a 13 March incident in which one of its fighter jets dropped a bomb that killed five Chinese citizens and injured eight.
Burmese state media carried an official apology on Friday, saying that Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin had met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and Vice-President Li Yuanchao on 1 and 2 April in Beijing, where he “expressed the apology of the Government and Armed Forces of Myanmar for the … unfortunate incident”, which the Burmese delegation has attributed to a stray bomb which landed in a sugarcane field in Dashuisangshu Village in southern Yunnan Province.
The Burmese foreign minister pledged to organise compensation for the families of those who lost their lives or were injured, according to Friday’s Global New Light of Myanmar.
“Both sides agreed that necessary and strict measures will be taken in order not to repeat similar incidents,” the report said.
The Burmese military is currently engaged in an offensive against Kokang rebels, and has routinely deployed warplanes in a bid to capture enemy positions dotted along the common border.
Chinese state media cited Chinese Foreign Minister Wang as saying that both sides now have a clear understanding of the incident and those who should be held accountable for the bombing. “He urged Myanmar to take this incident seriously and properly deal with it so as to protect the overall bilateral ties,” Xinhua said on Thursday.
In his monthly radio address to the nation on 1 April, President Thein Sein acknowledged the difficulties of fighting ethnic militias in the northeast of the country while maintaining productive relations with its superpower neighbour.
“At this time, we are working on the important matter of bringing about peace and tranquility in the Kokang region,” he said. “As we are prioritising the protection of ethnic nationalities’ rights in the new nation we are building, we will make every effort to bring about political, economic and social stability and development in the Kokang Self-Administrated Region.
“I would like to add that we will not let these conflicts harm our strategic relations with powerful nations in the world nor neighbouring countries.”