| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Chinese military holds training drills near Myanmar border after convoy fire

China’s military stated on social media that it will begin “combat training activities” on its side of the border with Myanmar on Saturday, a day after a convoy of trucks transporting commodities into the neighboring Southeast Asian country caught fire.

The event, described as an insurgent strike by Myanmar state media, occurred amid security concerns in China, whose envoy met with top officials in Myanmar’s capital for talks on border stability following recent signs of rare strain in bilateral ties.

The training aims to “test the rapid maneuverability, border sealing and fire strike capabilities of theatre troops,” the Southern Theatre Command, one of five in China’s People’s Liberation Army, said on the WeChat messaging app.

A separate statement released by the provincial government of China’s Yunnan, which neighbours Myanmar, said the drills would run until Nov. 28 in the areas near Manghai, Manling and Qingshuihe villages.

Myanmar was told of the drills, military junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said, adding that they aimed to “maintain stability and peace” near the border, and did not undermine China’s policy of non-interference in Myanmar’s internal affairs.

“The military tie between China and Myanmar is firm and collaboration between both armies is friendly and building up,” he said in his post on state-run social media.

Friday’s fire in the town of Muse came as Myanmar’s military has lost control of several towns and military outposts in the northeast and elsewhere as it battles the biggest co-ordinated offensive it has faced since seizing power in a 2021 coup.

The surge in fighting has displaced more than 2 million people in Myanmar, the United Nations says.

  • Reuters