Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered to help Myanmar in the settlement of disputes with ethnic militants along the border with China.
“China is willing to continue to provide necessary assistance for Myanmar’s internal peace process,” Xi told Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday.
Xi, who was meeting Suu Kyi after a major economic summit in Beijing, also called for both countries to maintain stability on the border.
“The two sides must jointly work to safeguard China-Myanmar border security and stability,” Xi said.
It was not clear what assistance China was willing provide, but Beijing has previously carried out military drills in its southern region while it has offered mediation between Myanmar and Bangladesh over a separate dispute involving the Rohingya Muslim minority, which has been escaping violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Five people died in China in 2015, when violence from across the border in Myanmar spilled over into Chinese territories. Beijing has repeatedly expressed concern about fighting along the border, saying it could undermine the country’s security. Renewed fighting in March pushed thousands of people from Myanmar to seek refuge in China.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, is currently the de facto leader of Myanmar as she is barred from holding the position of president under the country’s army-drafted constitution. She said during the meeting with Xi that she was grateful for Chinese help and that her civilian government would do its best to cooperate with China to safeguard stability in the border region.
Myanmar’s state counselor was also assured during the meeting with Xi that Myanmar would be a partner for China in the Belt and Road development plan, a mega project which aims to expand infrastructure between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond to bolster China’s global leadership.