Top China Official Reaffirms Beijing’s Support for Myanmar Junta

By The Irrawaddy 4 July 2022

China has reaffirmed its continued support for Myanmar’s military regime and has vowed to protect its neighbour and its legitimate interests.

On Sunday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his counterpart in the junta’s administration, Wunna Maung Lwin, that China’s friendly policy toward Myanmar was intended for all the people of Myanmar.

“Beijing will support Naypyitaw in safeguarding the country’s legitimate interests, as well as its national dignity on international occasions,” said Wang Yi, according to the state-run newspaper China Daily.

Wang Yi met Wunna Maung Lwin in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bagan, on the sidelines of the seventh Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bagan. It was the first time a senior official from China has visited Myanmar since last year’s coup.

China has refused to condemn the coup and the regime’s bloody crackdowns on anti-coup protesters, while western democracies have denounced the junta.

Along with Russia, China has used its veto on the United Nations (UN) Security Council to prevent resolutions taking action against the regime from being passed.

Over 2,000 people have been killed by the junta since the coup.

Wang Yi’s vow that Beijing will continue “safeguarding its [Myanmar] dignity on international occasions” means that it is likely that China will continue to use its veto to protect the regime from UN-sanctioned international punishment.

In April, Wunna Maung Lwin received a warm welcome from Wang Yi when he visited China. Beijing said it would help safeguard Myanmar’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity “no matter how the situation changes”.

Wang told his Myanmar counterpart then that Beijing “has always placed Myanmar in an important position in its neighborly diplomacy” and wants to “deepen exchanges and cooperation.”

Referring to the social, political and economic turmoil sparked by the coup, Wang Yi said on Sunday that China hopes that all parties in Myanmar can adhere to rational consultation and achieve political reconciliation and national long-term stability within the framework of the constitution and law at an early date.

The two foreign ministers also agreed to speed up the construction of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor [CMEC], which involves a number of infrastructure projects such as a rail line linking China’s Yunnan Province with a deep water port in Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State in western Myanmar that will give China coveted access to the Indian Ocean. The two sides said they would discuss “CMEC Plus” cooperation in a timely manner so as to enhance bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

China is one of the top investors in Myanmar, as well as a major supplier of arms to the Myanmar military.

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