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China gives shelter to 3,000 fleeing Myanmar

By Zhang Zhihao | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-22 07:35

More than 3,000 people from Myanmar have arrived at temporary shelters in Chinese border towns including Wanding, Yunnan province, after fleeing conflict along their country's border, said Pan Xuesong, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Myanmar.

The injured, all Myanmar nationals, were taken to hospitals for medical treatment, Pan said on Monday.

"The Chinese authority has responded swiftly and handled the situation appropriately," Pan added.

The conflict between ethnic militant forces and the Myanmar military near the border towns of Muse and Kutkai, Myanmar, on Sunday also injured one Chinese national, who was treated at a hospital after being injured by shellfire that strayed across the border.

China gives shelter to 3,000 fleeing Myanmar

In response, China will strengthen control along the China-Myanmar border to protect the lives and property of Chinese citizens there, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

China has been closely monitoring the situation, urging all parties in the conflict to exercise restraint, immediately halt military operations and restore peace to avoid escalation, the ministry said.

The Chinese military was placed on high alert and will take necessary measures to maintain security, the Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

Eight people, all Myanmar nationals, were killed - one soldier, three police officers, one militia fighter and three civilians - and 29 wounded in the conflict between 2 am and 3 pm on Sunday, according to Myanmar's State Counsellor Office.

Chinese in Wanding reported stray shells falling across the border, and one villager's rooftop solar water heater was hit, according to China Central Television. Authorities in Wanding deployed more armed police along the border to maintain order.

Three out of the four ethnic militant groups involved in the fighting had not joined a cease-fire agreement signed between Myanmar's government and eight rebel groups in October last year, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The recent attack, which targeted economic infrastructure like bridges and shops in government-controlled border trade zones, was a way for non-signatory rebel groups to "declare their existence" and drag China into the situation, said Xu Liping, a researcher at the Institute of Asian Pacific Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

(China Daily 11/22/2016 page1)

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