China and Russia Express ‘Deep Concern’ as Myanmar’s Protest Death Toll Mounts
By The Irrawaddy 24 March 2021
China and Russia have both expressed “deep concern” about the situation in Myanmar, as the death toll mounts from the junta’s intensifying crackdown on peaceful anti-regime protesters.
As of Tuesday, over 270 civilians have been killed by security forces during crackdowns on pro-democracy demonstrators across the country.
During a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, both men voiced support for all parties in Myanmar to seek a political solution to the current crisis within the constitution and legal framework, and to avoid further conflict and bloodshed.
As pro-democracy supporters called on the United Nations (UN) to take serious action against the military regime, both foreign ministers said that they support all parties in Myanmar who seek political dialogue to prevent external forces from taking advantage of the crisis for their own gain, and who continue to advance the democratic transition.
China and Russia have faced severe criticism for failing to condemn the military’s takeover and for blocking a U.N Security Council resolution condemning the Feb.1 coup. Anti-coup protesters have targeted the Chinese and Russian embassies in Yangon during protests against the regime, accusing them of supporting the junta and demanding that Beijing and Moscow stand with the people of Myanmar.
Stung by the criticism of China, Beijing has denied the suggestion that it supports the military takeover. In early March, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing will try to bring about reconciliation by engaging with all relevant parties. Moreover, a spokesperson for Russia said that reports of rising casualties among civilians are alarming and that the Russian authorities are weighing the possibility of suspending military cooperation with Myanmar.
On Tuesday, military regime spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun said in a press conference that the junta is cooperating with the five countries that neighbor Myanmar. He said that China was a friendly neighbour and had strategic relations with both the Myanmar military and the government. But the general did not reveal if Myanmar’s other neighbors are cooperating with the military regime.
The general said that junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and the cabinet value and respect the words of neighboring countries, ASEAN and any countries that respect the stability of Myanmar.
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