Intensified fighting between ethnic rebel groups and government forces in northern Myanmar has forced several thousand to flee into China’s southern province of Yunnan, raising concerns in Beijing about border security.
The clashes and reports of stray munitions flying into Chinese territory have stirred up a debate online, with some calling on authorities in China to do more to help resolve the conflict and aid efforts in Myanmar to forge reconciliation.
Given China’s economic interests in conflict areas near the border, there are limits to what can be done, analysts said, but also signs as well that Beijing may be looking for a new approach.
Securing the border
In response to the violence, China has already put its military on high alert and called for an immediate halt to military action to ensure that stability returns to the border as soon as possible. It has also said it is willing to play a constructive role in Myanmar’s peace process and efforts by the new administration to resolve decades of conflict with ethnic minority groups.