China's rare rebuke to Burma over "properly handling domestic problems"

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Beijing, Aug. 31 (ANI): After the settlement of several days of clashes between Burmese ethnic groups and government forces, China has issued a rare rebuke urging Myanmar to "properly handle domestic problems and maintain stability."

The violence erupted on Thursday when the Burmese army sent troops to occupy the Kokang territory following the refusal of several ethnic militias to convert into border security forces under the authority of the Burmese military, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

The fighting, which abruptly ended this Sunday, sent up to 30,000 refugees into China, some of whom were rebels, who handed over their guns and uniforms to Chinese authorities.

Chinese officials assisted a number of refugees by providing tents, food, and medical aid.

Meanwhile, the Chinese media reports that Burmese officials have apologized for any Chinese causalities, and thanked its neighbour for assisting refugees.

According to some observers cited in the report, junta head General Than Shwe's decision to send troops into Kokang territory despite China's concerns, showed his determination to demonstrate that he will not be constrained by Beijing.

"The Burmese junta doesn't care what anybody thinks, so I don't think the generals are thinking about China's response," said Chan Tun, a former Burmese ambassador to China.

Still, it remains unlikely that China and Burma's military junta will break ties over the incident, the report said.

Both China and the ruling military junta in Burma have a particular interest in the return of stability to the region, as China has plans to build oil and gas pipelines through Burma, the report added.

The latest tension is being said to a consequence of the military's attempt to silence the voice of the opposition in the runup to the 2010 general election. (ANI)

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