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Eight dead in fighting in Myanmar town on China border

21 November 2016
Eight dead in fighting in Myanmar town on China border

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said yesterday that parties to the conflict should show restraint to keep confrontations from escalating.

Hundreds of ethnic rebels in northeastern Myanmar launched a series of attacks on military posts and key infrastructure nodes in the northern Shan state, near the Chinese border, in the early hours of November 20, Myanmar Times and the Irrawaddy reported.

On the surface, China provides humanitarian support to people fleeing across the border to escape the fighting.

The official Xinhua news agency said in a report late on Sunday three armed groups simultaneously attacked security posts in the border towns of Muse and Kutkai in Myanmar's northeastern Shan state earlier in the day.

The sudden escalation of fighting comes as the government grapples with a conflict in northwestern Rakhine that has sent hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, posing a new challenge to Nobel peace prize victor Ms. Suu Kyi, who swept to power past year on promises of national reconciliation. Last March, a Myanmese Air Force fighter mistakenly bombed a village in Yunnan, killing four civilians and prompting the Chinese government to dispatch fighters and conduct military exercises along the border.

The KIA is the military wing of the Kachin Independence Organisation, a political group comprising ethnic Kachins in northern Myanmar. He said China hopes all sides can resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation, in order to ensure peace in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi is trying to forge a nationwide peace agreement between all ethnic groups after years of war in Myanmar's many border regions, but ethnic minorities have a deep-rooted mistrust of the central government. He did not comment on questions regarding the military's next steps.

The TNLA is the armed wing of the Palaung State Liberation Front and promotes self-determination for the Ta'ang people, a Mon-Khmer ethnic minority living in Shan State, Yunnan and Northern Thailand.

China was infuriated previous year when five Chinese people were killed when the fighting spilled over into Chinese territory.

He also called on them to take concrete measures to restore peace in the China-Myanmar border area and prevent harm to Chinas sovereignty as well as the lives and property of border residents.