South Asia

Myanmar denies killing Chinese nationals

Myanmar has denied its planes had killed four Chinese nationals after straying into its neighbours’ airspace, increasing friction between the two countries, which need to work together to establish Beijing’s ambitious Maritime Silk Road (MSR) project.

On Saturday, Zaw Htay, director of Myanmar’s presidential office, said that the Chinese authorities had summoned the country’s Ambassador and military attaché regarding the incident, Kyodo news agency reported. Based on information the Chinese provided, the Myanmar military concluded that its warplanes did not carry out the strike.

“The GPS data, radar information and ground information all show our planes did not enter those areas as they had claimed,” he said.

He pointed out that the military notifies the Chinese side in advance of planned flight schedules and flight paths near the border as a matter of routine.

“We will cooperate fully over the matter,” he said, adding that additional meeting between senior government and military officials would be held with the Chinese Ambassador and military attaché.

But the Chinese side insists that a bomb from a Myanmar aircraft that fell in a sugarcane field killed four people working in a sugarcane field in the city of Lincang in the Yunnan province.

On Sunday, China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that the government had the responsibility and the ability to defend its border with Myanmar.

His comments follow a stern warning by the Chinese military on Saturday that it will take “firm and decisive action” to protect the safety of its people. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, made these remarks during a telephonic conversation with Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Defence Services, Xinhua reported. General Fan called on Myanmar to seriously investigate the incident, and urged the government to severely punish the perpetrators, render an apology and compensate the families of the victims.

Chinese state media reported that the Gen. Min Aung Hlaing said that the Myanmar side would send personnel to jointly investigate the incident with the Chinese side.

China claims that Myanmar’s warplanes have on several occasions crossed the China-Myanmar border causing casualties and loss of property of the Chinese people due to stray fire.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 8:52:19 PM |

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