China says it will back neighbor Myanmar “no matter how the situation changes,” in the latest show of unequivocal support for the ruling military that seized power last year.
China “has always placed Myanmar in an important position in its neighborly diplomacy” and wants to “deepen exchanges and cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin on Friday, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
Myanmar’s military, which ousted the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021, has continued to face popular resistance that amounts to what some U.N. experts have characterized as a civil war. The government is also facing genocide accusations at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
In return for Chinese diplomatic support and material assistance, Myanmar has been a loyal ally of Beijing within a 10-member regional bloc, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
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.
“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 leader has not been allowed to participate in ASEAN meetings following the army’s seizure of power and violent suppression of of opposition to its rule.
China pursues what it calls an independent foreign policy of peace that generally prioritizes its own narrow interests, with little or no consideration for a country’s human rights record or other internal controversies.
China has refused to criticize Russia over its invasion of Ukraine while blaming the West for provoking the conflict.
And on Thursday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping issued strong backing for Afghanistan while making no mention of human rights abuses by the country’s Taliban leaders, even as much of the world fumed over the hardline Islamic group reneging on a promise a day earlier to open schools to girls beyond the sixth grade.