China will engage with all parties in Myanmar post-military coup: Chinese FM

Beijing, 7 Mar: China said on Sunday it will not change the course of its close ties with Myanmar no matter how the situation evolves in the country, ruling out joining the US in imposing sanctions against the military junta which overthrew the civilian government in a bloodless coup.
Myanmar’s military toppled the government last month and seized power for one year, detaining top political figures, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint in the coup.
Many people have reportedly died after the security personnel fired at protesters during demonstrations across the country against the coup.
“China will not change the course of promoting friendship and cooperation, no matter how the situation evolves, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his annual press conference. Instead, Beijing will try to bring about reconciliation by engaging with all relevant parties, he said.
China shared close relations with military junta when it ruled the country for over two decades and later with Suu Kyi after she swept into power in 2016 after years of incarceration.
During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Myanmar in January last year, China and Myanmar signed 33 deals especially on the implementation of the USD 9 billion China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), which provided access for the first time to the Indian Ocean.
Wang said all parties in Myanmar should keep calm and exercise restraint, address their differences through dialogue and consultation within the constitutional and legal framework, and continue to advance the democratic transition.
The immediate priority is to prevent further bloodshed and conflict, ease and cool down the situation as soon as possible, he said at a virtual press conference on the sidelines of China’s annual legislative session.
China supports the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to uphold the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and making decisions through consensus, mediate in the ASEAN way and seek common ground, Wang said.
On the basis of respecting Myanmar’s sovereignty and the will of its people, China stands ready to engage and communicate with all relevant parties, and play a constructive role in easing the tensions in Myanmar, Wang said.
“Over the years, we have maintained friendly exchanges with various political parties in Myanmar, including the National League for Democracy, headed by Suu Kyi, Wang said, adding that developing friendship with China has also been a consensus across all sectors of Myanmar.
The US imposed trade sanctions against the military regime in Myanmar on Thursday amid reports that dozens of people were killed in heavy crackdown by the military against agitators demanding the restoration of democracy.
The US State Department on Thursday again called for China to use its influence in Myanmar to help restore the country’s civilian government. The US and Chinese officials have spoken numerous times about the situation in Myanmar since the February 1 coup, State Department spokesman Ned Price said. PTI
We have urged the Chinese to play a constructive role to use their influence with the Burmese military to bring this coup to an end, reports from Washington quoted Price as saying.