BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Friday called on Myanmar to restore stability to their common border after a rebel group that has been battling the Myanmar military announced a unilateral ceasefire.
The ethnic Chinese Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) announced the ceasefire after coming under pressure from Beijing to end four months of intense fighting. The ceasefire began on Wednesday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China, which is currently playing host to Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, welcomed the ceasefire.
“We hope that the conflicting parties meet each other halfway, exercise restraint, stop the war as soon as possible and restore normal order in the China-Myanmar border area,” he said at a regular briefing.
Hong said China supports “early realization of peace and national reconciliation” in Myanmar.
“This is in line with the common interests between China and Myanmar,” Hong said. “To this end, China has actively promoted the peace process in northern Myanmar, played a constructive role in accordance with the wishes of Myanmar and has been welcomed by Myanmar.”
Fighting intensified in early February, dealing a setback to Myanmar’s semi-civilian government which took power in 2011 after 49 years of military rule.
On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Suu Kyi that he hoped Myanmar would maintain a consistent and positive position on relations, regardless of any changes in Myanmar’s domestic politics.
Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie