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Iran Press TV

Thousands have fled Myanmar clashes to China: Beijing

Iran Press TV

Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:24PM

Thousands of people have fled ongoing fighting between the military and ethnic rebels in northern Myanmar for China, says the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said in a news briefing in the capital Beijing on Tuesday, "About 3,000 Myanmar border citizens have entered China to avoid warfare."

"Out of humanitarian considerations, the Chinese local governments offered them proper settlement and brought the injured to hospital for treatment."

According to Chinese media reports, Beijing has placed its military on high alert after one of its nationals was injured by a stray shell from across the border.

Myanmar's government has intensified its fight against ethnic Chinese rebels in the northeastern state of Shan along China's border.

The death toll from clashes between the military and ethnic rebels has risen to nine over the past few days.

The office of Myanmar's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Tuesday that one person had been killed near the border town of Muse. Eight people were also reported dead and nearly 30 injured on November 20.

Local residents confirmed that a large number of people have recently been forced to cross the border into China due to the upsurge in violence.

"People dare not go outside," said Aye Aye, a Muse resident, adding, "We are frightened. We are thinking of going to China if the situation gets worse."

Myanmar's officials say former Chinese military officers have trained the rebels, formally known as the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), a claim rejected by the insurgents.

Beijing also denies any relation with the rebels, saying it respects the sovereignty of Myanmar.

Senior Chinese officials have warned about a strong response unless Myanmar prevented warfare with the rebels from spilling over into the Chinese territory.

The violence is a fresh blow to Suu Kyi's hopes of forging a nationwide peace agreement after decades of bloody insurgencies in Myanmar's borderlands.

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