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China will act to stop cross-border incursions

Author: Yang DanzhiSilver Editor Source: China DailyTime :2015-03-18 09:24:33

  Myanmar on Sunday openly expresses regret for the first time to Friday's bombing incident across the Myanmar-China border, which left five Chinese citizens dead and eight others injured in China's southwestern Yunnan province.

  The conflict between government forces and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army in Myanmar’s northern Kokang region has resulted in increasing local displacements and financial losses, and even civilian casualties in its neighbors such as China.

  Yet, given the highly sensitive nature of the clashes, none of the involved international or regional organizations, including the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has been able to make effective diplomatic interventions to end the conflict.

  What is happening in northern Myanmar, as China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated last week, is the country’s internal affair triggered by the interest disparities between Myanmar’s central government and northern ethnic minorities. However, given the country’s geopolitical significance and abundant natural resources, strategic competition between major powers within Myanmar’s borders may also be playing a role.

  Hence, it is foreseeable that more humanitarian crises may emerge in Myanmar, should the tensions in the north keep escalating. Worse still, the country is also likely to be added to the list of “failed states” due to its tarnished national image, despite all the efforts it has made to engage with the international community.

  Myanmar’s future needs to be in the hands of its people, otherwise it will only be a bargaining chip for outside forces in their selfish haggles. Negotiation is the best way to end the clashes, and the international community should provide constructive assistance to make talks happen.

  Sharing a border of over 2,000 kilometers with Myanmar, China has suffered much from the military confrontation taking place in its southeastern neighbor.

  In response to the incursions into China’s airspace and the bombing of Lincang city, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force has stepped up its patrols along the China-Myanmar border, and it has stated it will send warnings and prevent Myanmar planes from approaching Chinese territory.

  Undoubtedly, the ongoing unrest near the border area might deal a blow to bilateral trade exchanges between the two countries, and might even put the China-supported oil pipelines in Myanmar at risk.

  China’s cooperative investments in Myanmar and the Bangladesh-China-Myanmar-India economic corridor the Chinese leaders have proposed are facing growing security threats, which may cause further damage to China-Myanmar relations.

  Therefore, the Chinese government needs to make smart diplomatic decisions. In fact, China has always been tolerant and restrained in its relations with Myanmar and other neighbors.

  However, such a friendly stance has sometimes failed to alleviate their concerns about a “China threat”, and they have even intentionally ignored China’s rightful interests as a developing regional power.

  Such being the case, it is more than necessary that China act more assertively to defend its legitimate rights, and it should push for negotiations to end the conflict in Myanmar. More importantly, it should draw a clear red line regarding any cross-border intrusions and punish any deliberate crossing of the line.

  The author is a researcher at the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


China will act to stop cross-border incursions