China Urges Burma to Bridle Ethnic Militia Uprising at Border (Updated)

The Washington Post has the latest on the exodus of Burmese refugees fleeing fighting by crossing the border to Yunnan Province, and the government’s reaction:

China called on the Burmese authorities to “properly handle domestic problems and maintain stability in the China-Myanmar border region,” according to a statement from Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu. “We also urge Myanmar to protect the security and legal rights of Chinese citizens in Myanmar.”

China has been balancing support for the Burmese government with backing for the armed ethnic groups that occupy much of the Burmese side of the border. The border regions are heavily influenced by China, with many Chinese businesses taking advantage of the trade in gems, timber and jade.

Analysts say the fighting is just the most obvious sign of tensions arising from the Burmese government’s desire to control the armed ethnic groups with which it has co-existed uneasily since a round of cease-fires that began 20 years ago ended decades of open conflict.

Read CDT’s previous coverage of this story.

Update: See Al Jazeera’s report on China’s warning to the Myanmar junta:

August 28, 2009 8:14 PM
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