Restraint urged to ease Myanmar tension

By Qin Jize (China Daily/Xinhua)
Updated: 2007-09-28 07:21

Beijing Thursday urged all parties in Myanmar to show restraint and "properly handle" the current situation.

"As a neighbor, China is paying great attention to the situation in Myanmar," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular press briefing.

She called on parties concerned to prevent the situation from becoming more complicated and spreading; and not to allow it to affect peace and stability in Myanmar and the surrounding region.

Jiang made the remarks amid reports of several deaths in clashes between soldiers and thousands of protestors led by Buddhist monks in Myanmar's biggest city of Yangon.

Soldiers fired automatic weapons at a crowd of demonstrators on Thursday after they ignored orders to disband.

Several people, including a Japanese video journalist, have been found dead following the protests, Japanese embassy officials in Yangon said Thursday, citing Myanmar officials.

Myanmar's official newspaper Thursday blamed "saboteurs inside and outside the nation" for causing the protests in Yangon, and said the demonstrations were much smaller than the foreign media were reporting.

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said in an editorial: "Certain Western media and anti-government media are broadcasting leading news stories and distorted news stories to stir up the mass protests."

The protests, which began on August 19, were initially sparked by high fuel prices but have since swelled.

China hopes Myanmar will commit itself to improving people's livelihood and safeguarding the rapprochement among different ethnic groups so that peace and stability are restored as soon as possible, Jiang said.

She refuted reports that China had not exerted its full influence on the issue.

"We have noticed the false reports by some media," said Jiang. "They are totally slanderous and reflect ulterior motives."

China hopes international media reports are objective and "do not add fuel to the fire", she said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier on Wednesday that he would send Ibrahim Gambari as his special envoy to Myanmar.

"China supports the UN secretary-general and his special envoy's mediation activities in the Myanmar issue," the spokeswoman said.

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