China mediated Myanmar junta peace talks with rebels -foreign ministry

By Liz Lee and Ethan Wang

BEIJING (Reuters) -China has mediated peace talks between Myanmar’s ruling military and rebel groups, and the parties agreed on a temporary ceasefire and to maintain dialogue, Beijing said on Thursday.

The fighting, largely in northern Shan state, has caused worry in neighbouring China. Around 300,000 people have been displaced since a rebel offensive began on Oct. 27, according to the U.N., which says more than 2 million people have been made homeless since Myanmar’s military coup in February 2021.

The talks were held in China in recent days, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement, without giving more details.

China hopes that the parties concerned in Myanmar will implement the agreements and the consensus reached, exercise maximum restraint and take the initiative to ease the situation on the ground, it said.

“China has been working tirelessly to stop the war and promote talks among the relevant parties in Myanmar, and has pushed for the de-escalation and cooling-down of the situation,” ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

Mao said there had been a marked decline in the number of clashes and exchanges of fire in northern Myanmar, “which not only serves the interests of the relevant parties in Myanmar, but also contributes to the maintenance of tranquillity along the China-Myanmar border”.

Myanmar’s military had said on Monday it met with the rebels and other parties in the conflict, and another round of talks was due by the end of the month, without elaborating.

On Wednesday, however, the ethnic minority insurgent alliance reaffirmed its commitment to defeat what it called Myanmar’s “dictatorship”, and made no mention of peace talks or a ceasefire.

The rebel alliance comprises three groups – the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Arakan Army (AA).

(Reporting by Liz Lee and Ethan Wang; editing by Christina Fincher and Mark Heinrich)