China warns ASEAN countries to be alert to ‘external forces’ interference in Myanmar

As the military in Myanmar faces international criticism for its violent crackdown on the citizens,China has called on Southeast Asian nations to be on alert against external interference in Myanmar.Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi accused external forces of provoking “trouble and intensifyingdivisions” in Myanmar. The remarks have come amid rising tensions between China and westerncountries over a slew of issues.Wang made the remarks while wrapping up his week-long series of meetings with his counterpartsfrom Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines in Fujian.“We are aware that we have to be alert to some external forces infiltrating Myanmar with ulteriormotives, provoking trouble and intensifying divisions, which makes the situation more complicated,”Wang told Chinese state media.China has been accused of aiding the Myanmar junta after it refrained from condemning theFebruary 1 coup, which has seen over 500 protesters killed, leading to rising anti-China sentiment.Beijing has denied involvement in the coup and Wang said China would continue to maintain contactand communication with all parties in Myanmar.Western countries have condemned the coup, which has thrown the southeastern country intopolitical chaos. The west has been pressuring the military to release detained leaders including AungSan Sui Kyi.The US and UK have imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s two military conglomerates in a move thatsignificantly ratchets up pressure on the country’s leadership. Myanmar Economic Corporation

(MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) control significant portions of Myanmar’seconomy, with interests across many of the country’s major industries.The United States has also suspended all engagement with Myanmar under a 2013 trade andinvestment agreement until the return of a democratically elected government.Wang said China is willing to coordinate positions with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ina timely manner and provide necessary assistance to the bloc.He continued: “We call on all parties in Myanmar to exercise the utmost restraint to stop violenceand prevent another bloody conflict that aggravates civilian casualties. We all urge all parties inMyanmar to seek political understanding through dialogue within the constitution and legalframework as soon as possible.”

Tags: Myanmar, China, military coup, ASEAN, protests