Beijing Rubbishes Sanctions Against Myanmar Military Junta

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China continues to insist that Myanmar’s crisis is an internal affair and has – along with Russia – blocked all UN attempts to take action against the military regime, reports Anwesha Bhaumik

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has rubbished sanctions against Myanmar’s military junta, describing them as “inappropriate intervention”.

Instead, Wang Yi urged Myanmar’s many stakeholders to settle the political crisis through “internal dialogue and reconciliation”.

Analysts say this may be a prelude to some overtures for dialogue that the military junta might initiate on Chinese advice instead of continuing its brutal repression of the pro-democracy movement.

The junta has been releasing thousands of protesters detained during five months of agitation though top NLD leaders like Aung Saan Suu Kyi are still in jail with more cases filed to frame her.

Wang Yi highlighted Myanmar as one of a number of global ‘hotspot issues’ during his address to the opening ceremony of the 9th World Peace Forum held at Beijing’s Tsinghua University at the weekend.

“On Myanmar, the central task is to promote internal dialogue and realise political reconciliation,” said Wang, in remarks published on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar.

“The twists and turns in Myanmar’s democratic transition process are in essence the country’s domestic affairs. They should be settled by political means as soon as possible through dialogue and consultation within the framework of its constitution and laws,” the Chinese Foreign Minister added.

Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing. (Xinhua_U Aung_IANS)

The US and European Union have imposed sanctions on the junta leaders and their spouses, while some western companies have exited the country in response to the human rights violations by the junta.

Nearly 900 people have been killed during the crackdown on anti-coup protesters.

But China continues to insist that Myanmar’s crisis is an internal affair and has – along with Russia – blocked all UN attempts to take action against the military regime.

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Despite the nationwide resistance against the junta, that is increasingly turning violent, Wang told his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin in Chongqing last month that Beijing was ready to work with Myanmar.

He said China’s policy toward its neighbour is “not affected by changes to Myanmar’s domestic and external situation.”

“China has supported, is supporting and will support Myanmar in choosing a development path that suits its own circumstances,” Wang had said at the time.

A Myanmar police officer

China has also pushed its support through the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) proposals for Myanmar.

An ASEAN special summit on April 24 set out its engagement policy with the junta and China has supported that.

However, Myanmar coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said he would carry out ASEAN’s suggestions “only when stability comes to Myanmar”, a way of ignoring ASEAN’s proposals.

Wang Yi said China “firmly supports ASEAN in working in the ASEAN way for a ‘soft landing’ of the situation”.

“The international community should truly respect Myanmar’s sovereignty and the choice of its people, do more to help narrow differences, and refrain from imposing unilateral sanctions and inappropriate intervention,” said Wang.

On Saturday, in the latest round of sanctions against the Myanmar regime, the US sanctioned 22 members of the regime and their spouses and children.

Washington also blacklisted three Chinese companies for providing support to the Myanmar regime through revenue-sharing arrangements with the military-owned and already sanctioned Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited.

Appalled at Chinese backing of the military junta, angry mobs have burnt down more than 35 Chinese factories in a bid to pressure Beijing to get the Myanmar junta to restore democracy.

But the junta has cleared nearly 15 Chinese mega projects involving billions of dollars and Beijing has so far backed and shielded the junta in all global and regional forums.

“The junta and its Chinese backers are one and the same. We will have to attack both. This is a new war of independence for us,” said Aung Gyi, a commander of the civilian resistance group PDF.

“If China continues backing the bloodthirsty junta, all Chinese projects and those involved with it will be legitimate targets,” he said.

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