Mon, 26 February 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

China urges nationals to leave Myanmar border district

Update : 28 Dec 2023, 16:23

The Chinese embassy in Myanmar urged its nationals on Thursday to evacuate as soon as possible from a northeastern district along the countries' shared border.

Diplomatic staff cited growing security risks in the Laukkai district in Shan state, where armed resistance groups have been taking on the military of the ruling national junta.

What the embassy said

Chinese nationals have previously been advised to leave  Laukkai, the main city of Shan's Kokang region, but the embassy said the need to leave was now more pressing.

 "The conflicts in Laukkai district of Kokang, northern Myanmar continue, and safety risks have escalated for people stranded there. The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar once again reminds Chinese citizens in Laukkai district to evacuate as soon as possible," the embassy said on its WeChat account.

There has been a rise in clashes in Shan since October, when the Three Brotherhood Alliance — the Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) — launched an offensive against the military junta.  The groups have taken hold of some towns and border hubs, which are important for trade with China.

Some analysts say this has been the biggest armed challenge to the junta since it seized power in 2021.

The MNDAA wants to capture Laukkai, which is currently being run by militia and which has become infamous for gambling, prostitution, and online scams. 

Beijing had said earlier in the month that it mediated talks between the junta and the three groups to reach a temporary ceasefire. However, clashes have continued in Shan state. Media related to the MNDAA said the military junta had carried out airstrikes in the Kokang region.

China has maintained ties with a few of the armed groups in northern Myanmar, some of which share cultural ties with Beijing. They also use Chinese currency and phone networks in the regions that they control. 

Beijing also has ties with the junta and is one of its major arms suppliers. However, relations have been increasingly strained over the past few months. China is concerned with the junta's inability to control online scam compounds that target Chinese citizens.

Last month, a protest was held in the city of Yangon against China's support for the rebel groups.

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