KABUL (BNA) China’s foreign minister has met Myanmar’s top general in Naypyidaw, hailing the “friendship” between the two nations and pledging to boost ties as violence escalates in the Southeast Asian country two years after a military coup.
Qin Gang’s meeting with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Tuesday makes the diplomat the highest-ranking Chinese official to meet Myanmar’s coup leader since he snatched power from the elected government in February 2021.
China is a major ally and arms supplier of the internationally isolated military and has refused to condemn Min Aung Hlaing’s takeover.
The coup, which deposed elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, prompted widespread peaceful protests that security forces suppressed with deadly force. Thousands of people have been killed in the crackdown, leading to armed resistance throughout the country that the military has been unable to quell.
The Chinese CGTN broadcaster said Qin told Min Aung Hlaing that Beijing attaches “great importance” to its “friendship” with Myanmar and said the two men agreed to “further promote comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries”.
“China advocates that the international community should respect Myanmar’s sovereignty and play a constructive role in helping it achieving peace and reconciliation,” Qin said, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry.
During the meeting, Qin praised Than Shwe’s “important contribution to the development of China-Myanmar relations”, while the former general thanked Beijing for its “strong assistance to Myanmar’s economic and social development”.