China takes note, does not condemn Myanmar military coup
China parried question on condemning the military coup in Myanmar on Monday which attracted a barrage of condemnation from international community and a demand for the restoration of democracy. In a cautious reaction over the arrests of top leaders including President Win Myint, top leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, and members of her governing party, Chinese Foreign Ministry said, we have noted what happened in Myanmar, and we are learning more information.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily press briefing in Beijing on Monday, “We hope that all sides in Myanmar will properly handle their differences under the constitutional and legal framework and maintain political and social stability.” He also parried questions over reports that the coup was a setback to Beijing, especially to the USD nine billion China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), which provides access to China to the Indian Ocean.
Myanmar was the last country Chinese President Xi Jinping visited in January 2020, just days before the dreaded coronavirus hit China and later emerged as a global pandemic. During Xi’s visit on January 17-18 last year, China and Myanmar signed 33 deals covering such areas as politics, trade, investment and people-to-people communications.
China is focusing on the implementation of the CMEC which is on the lines of the USD 60 billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), under which China looks to access Pakistan’s Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea. The CMEC is also a giant connectivity project linking landlocked southwestern China to the Indian Ocean. The CMEC deal included the USD 1.3 billion Kyaukhphyu deep-sea port and economic zone which is geo-strategically important for Beijing as it provides a gateway for China to the Indian Ocean. In addition to these two, China also acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease.