Conflicts & War

China ‘supports’ ASEAN’s mediating role in Myanmar crisis

Beijing, Jun 8 (EFE).- China on Tuesday said it supports the mediating role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to end the crisis in Myanmar as the military junta seeks to gain external legitimacy and strengthen its position.

It comes four months after the military orchestrated the Feb. 1 coup in the country and despite the fact that internal opposition to the new regime continues.

“China supports ASEAN in playing a constructive role in properly handling Myanmar’s domestic issues, and supports the gradual implementation of the ‘five-point consensus’ under the ASEAN framework,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday night, according to the foreign ministry on Tuesday, the morning after the meeting Wang held with counterparts in the city of Chongqing.

The meeting was attended by Wunna Maung Lwin, appointed by Myanmar’s military as foreign minister to replace Aung San Suu Kyi, who was also state councilor and who has been under house arrest since the coup.

In April, ASEAN leaders, including coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, backed a five-point consensus on facilitating a peaceful solution in to the Myanmar crisis.

“First, there shall be immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and all parties shall exercise utmost restraint,” the communique said, as well as other plans such as constructive dialog with ASEAN and a mediator.

Min Aung Hlaing gave the go-ahead to that statement, and later backtracked, saying first the country needed stability.

Wang Yi said that China and ASEAN’s positions and views on Myanmar “are generally consistent.”

“We are willing to continue to cooperate with ASEAN to jointly promote the interests of the people in Myanmar, maintain calmness and restraint, and eliminate all types of violence,” the Foreign Ministry said.

“China is also a close neighbor of Myanmar, connected by mountains and rivers, and the situation in Myanmar is directly related to China’s interests. China is also highly concerned about the situation in Myanmar and is willing to continue to play a constructive role in its own way.”

The ministry stressed that ASEAN and China must “conduct political dialog under the constitution and legal framework to restart the democratic transition process [and] jointly provide assistance to Myanmar to fight the epidemic.”

They should also “protect people’s lives and health; jointly support Myanmar’s economic recovery, improve people’s livelihood, and ensure the rights and interests of the grassroots people; jointly urge all countries to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and avoid unilateral sanctions and improper intervention,” Wang added, according to the ministry.

The diplomat stressed that all these points must be the “consensus and direction” taken by China and ASEAN.

Beijing has denied having supported or given its tacit consent to the coup and has reiterated that it hopes that all parties will resolve their differences and promote stability in the country.

China and ASEAN launched a two-day special meeting Monday to mark the 30th anniversary of their establishment of dialog relations. EFE


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