Myanmar's Minister of the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe (2-L) speaks during a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, 28 June 2018. EPA/GREG BAKER / POOL/FILE

Chinese foreign minister visits Myanmar amid country’s escalating violence

Bangkok, May 2 (EFE).- Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang will visit Myanmar this week, his ministry announced Tuesday, as the country faces an escalation of violence by the military regime that carried out a coup two years ago.

Qin will “support Myanmar in its efforts to promote stability, revitalize the economy, improve the lives of its people and promote sustainable development,” said a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, adding that the foreign minister would visit Myanmar and India between now and Friday.

Qin is expected to travel first to Myanmar to participate in the meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (comprising China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan) in Panaji, Goa, on Thursday and Friday.

Chinese state television channel CGTN also reported that Qin visited an area Tuesday bordering the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan with Myanmar, from where he urged to maintain stability on the border, without saying whether he is part of the tour.

China, Myanmar’s largest trading partner, has 2,129 kilometers of shared border and multiple projects in the country, from which gas and oil are supplied and imports numerous raw materials.

Qin’s visit coincides with an escalation of violence in Myanmar, where an army bombardment against an opposition act on Apr. 11 killed at least 168 people, including 40 minors, the bloodiest attack on record since the coup.

Beijing has strengthened its contacts with Naypyitaw since it appointed Deng Xijun a new special envoy for Myanmar in late 2022. He met with the coupmakers at least twice in the past months and has led meetings in Yunan with ethnic guerrillas to promote a peace agreement with the military regime.

The coup has exacerbated the conflict that the country has suffered for decades between the army and various ethnic guerrillas, causing the creation of new civilian militias opposed to the military. This has killed more than 3,400 people since the coup, according to a Friday statement by UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar Tom Andrews.

A trip to Myanmar in July by Qin’s predecessor, Wang Yi – the first by a Chinese foreign minister since the coup – was criticized for lending legitimacy to a junta that has been largely isolated by the international community. EFE