China says peace talks held over north Myanmar conflict, 'positive results'

BEIJING (AFP): China said Monday that peace talks had been held over the conflict in northern Myanmar and yielded "positive results", after weeks of fighting between the country's junta and ethnic minority armed groups.

"China is happy to see the parties to the conflict in northern Myanmar hold peace talks and achieve positive results," foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.

Beijing would "continue to provide support and facilitation to this end", she added.

"We believe that the easing of the situation in northern Myanmar serves the interests of all parties in Myanmar and is conducive to maintaining tranquillity and stability along the China-Myanmar border," Mao said.

AFP was unable to reach a Myanmar junta spokesman for comment.

Clashes have raged across Myanmar's northern Shan state after an armed alliance of three ethnic minority groups launched surprise attacks against the military in October.

The Arakan Army (AA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) have seized dozens of military positions and a town important for trade with China, in what analysts say is the biggest military challenge to the junta since it seized power in 2021.

Last week the junta's foreign minister met the deputy secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Party Committee in China's Kunming, where they discussed "peace and stability along the border areas," according to the Global New Light of Myanmar.

Beijing is a major ally and arms supplier of Myanmar's junta and has refused to label its 2021 power grab a coup.

The offensive by the alliance of ethnic minority armed groups has galvanised other opponents of the junta.

Clashes have spread to the east and the west of the country and forced more than half a million people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations. - AFP

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