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Preparedness for spillover natural precaution: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-28 20:40
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A month into the so-called Operation 1027, a joint offensive against the Myanmar government forces by the Brotherhood Alliance of three ethnic armies in the country's northern region, fighting continues along the China-Myanmar border.

In light of this, the People's Liberation Army has conducted live-fire drills on the Chinese side of the border since Saturday.

While there is no denying the two are interrelated, it is groundless overstretch to talk about a Chinese attempt to interfere in Myanmar's internal affairs, as some Western observers have done.

At both government-to-government and people-to-people levels, China and Myanmar have been on good terms. So good that the close official relationship has been a constant target of Western criticism as some Western countries aspire for changes in Myanmar politics.

Beijing's critics, however, often ignore the fact that the Chinese government's good-neighborly ties with the government in Myanmar is based on the principle of mutual noninterference. This principle sits at the center of the Chinese diplomatic compass — the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

With no signs of the fighting abating along the border, it is only natural for China to upgrade its own preparedness to deal with any unexpected scenarios.

"It is the responsibility of the PLA to safeguard border security and protect the lives and property of people living in the border areas," said the PLA Daily. "The drills being conducted ... are aimed at testing the mobility, border control abilities and firepower capabilities of the military units so that the People's Liberation Army is ready for any emergency."

According to the PLA Southern Theater Command, the drills are being carried out in accordance with an annual training plan.

Those who accuse the Chinese of siding with the ethnic forces should not neglect what the Myanmar military has to say.

A spokesman of the Myanmar government stated on Saturday that Myanmar had been informed of the drills. Military relations between China and Myanmar are firm, collaboration between the two militaries is friendly, and getting closer.

Nor should they ignore the fact that the PLA's exercises are only part of Beijing's response to the situation.

Wary of the fighting's effects spilling over and disturbing peace on the Chinese side, Beijing has repeatedly appealed to the conflicting parties to agree to a cease-fire and negotiate. It has also coordinated with the Myanmar authorities to accommodate displaced refugees and help third-country nationals withdraw via China.

China and Myanmar share a border of more than 2,000 kilometers. The surge in fighting has displaced more than 2 million people in Myanmar, according to a United Nations' estimate. The domestic conflict on the other side of the border is certainly a grim and genuine concern for China.

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