Thousands of refugees have crossed the border to China’s Yunnan Province to escape the violent clashes between Myanmar’s military forces and an ethnic rebel army in the Kokang region in northeastern Myanmar.
The Irrawaddy reports that the wave of refugees have lessened today as government forces appeared to have won over the rebels. The violence has led to the death of 26 government soldiers and an estimated eight rebels.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, there are reports that as many as 30,000 refugees have crossed into China since August 8. Chinese authorities said in a statement last week that it hoped Myanmar would properly solve its domestic issue to safeguard the regional stability of its bordering area with China.
Yunnan authorities have also set up seven settlements to receive the influx of refugees, many of them ethnic-Chinese, and equip the areas with medical supplies and disease control measures.
For the maintenance of friendly relations between the two countries and the overall interests of regional stability in the border area, Yunnan province is taking active measures to settle these people in designated areas and to supply daily necessities and medical care, Ms. Zhang of the Yunnan provincial government told The Wall Street Journal.
The recent fighting has been a result of Myanmar’s government forces trying to reinforce its hold over the country before it holds its national elections next year.
China is one of Myanmar’s few international allies and is heavily invested in its oil and mining industries as well as sponsoring arms sales. Myanmar’s upcoming elections threaten to destabilize its military junta and may pose a huge risk to Chinese investments in the country. However, the Chinese policy of noninterference makes it unlikely that it will meddle with its neighbor’s political affairs.
Xinhua said that Myanmar issued an apology when one Chinese national was killed from three artillery shells fired into Chinese territory.
This article was written for the Asian business news blog, 2point6billion.com. The writers are the Asian business news experts from Dezan Shira & Associates, who also write on the Vietnam business news site Vietnam-briefing.com, and the India business news site, India-briefing.com.