China steps up Myanmar contacts on border stability, phone scams

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Senior Chinese officials have held talks with Myanmar, the government said on Saturday, as Beijing grows increasingly concerned about border security and telecoms scams with rebel groups pressing their campaign against Myanmar’s junta.

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong visited Myanmar from Thursday to Saturday, meeting junta leader Min Aung Hlaing to discuss topics including border stability and the crackdown on the scams, China’s foreign ministry said.

China’s minister of public security, Wang Xiaohong, had a video call with Myanmar’s home affairs minister, Lieutenant-General Yar Pyae on Friday, Wang’s ministry said.

China, a key junta ally that also has close relations with some ethnic Chinese militias along their shared frontier, has grown increasingly frustrated in recent months by the Myanmar’s junta lack of action on closing down the scam centres, which target Chinese citizens.

A Myanmar rebel alliance has gained control of a key town along the country’s volatile northern border with China after weeks of fierce fighting with junta troops, the alliance and the junta said.

Beijing, which has facilitated dialogue between the two sides, has called for a ceasefire.

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by William Mallard)