China says it will back neighbour Myanmar “no matter how the situation changes”, in the latest show of unequivocal Chinese support for the ruling military council that seized power last year.
China “has always placed Myanmar in an important position in its neighborly diplomacy” and wants to “deepen exchanges and co-operation”, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin on Friday, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
The sides should accelerate work on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, step up construction of “major landmark projects” and “deepen solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic”, Wang said during the meeting in Tunxi, in east China’s Anhui Province.
“No matter how the situation changes, China will support Myanmar in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions,” Wang said.
Myanmar’s military, which ousted the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021, has continued to face resistance that now amounts to what some UN experts have characterised as a civil war.
The government is also facing genocide accusations at the International Court of Justice.
In return for Chinese diplomatic support and material assistance, Myanmar has been a loyal ally of Beijing within the nine-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
However, Myanmar’s military leader has not been allowed to take part in ASEAN meetings following the army’s seizure of power and violent suppression of opposition.
China pursues what it calls an independent foreign policy of peace that generally prioritises its own narrow interests, with little or no consideration for a country’s human rights record or other internal controversies.
China has refused to criticise Russia over its invasion of Ukraine while blaming the West for provoking the conflict.