As more than 30,000 refugees return to Burma (Myanmar), key ally China urges Burma to "properly handle domestic problems and maintain stability."
After several days of clashes between Burmese ethnic groups and government forces, the fighting came to an abrupt end on Sunday. The violence sent up to 30,000 refugees into China, some of whom were rebels who handed over their guns and uniforms to Chinese authorities.
China's official news service, Xinhua, has reported that a number of refugees have begun returning to their homes in Burma now that the fighting has stopped. Chinese officials assisted a number of refugees by providing tents, food, and medical aid.
Both China and the ruling military junta in Burma have a particular interest in the return of stability to the region, as China has plans to build oil and gas pipelines through Burma. There are also nearly 10,000 Chinese business people in the fractious area of Northern Burma.
In a rare move by China, an ally of the Burmese government, the country's foreign ministry spoke out urging Burma to "properly handle domestic problems and maintain stability in the China-Burma border region" and to "protect the security and legal rights" of its citizens in the country, reports the The Financial Times. Meanwhile, the Chinese media reports that Burmese officials have apologized for any Chinese casualities and thanked its neighbor for assisting refugees.