| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Chinese military holds training drills near Myanmar border after convoy fire

On social media, China announced that its military will start “combat training activities” on its side of the border with Myanmar on Saturday. This comes just one day after a convoy of trucks delivering supplies into the neighboring country of Southeast Asia caught fire.

Following recent indications of an unusual strain in bilateral relations, China’s envoy met with top authorities in Myanmar’s capital for discussions on border stability. The incident, which Myanmar state media referred to as an insurgent strike, coincided with concerns about insecurity in China.

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.

The brief statement gave no details of timing or numbers of troops.

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.

  • Reuters