China maintains principle of noninterference, hopes for Myanmar peace
Published: Nov 29, 2023 03:04 AM
Illustration: Liu Xidan/ GT

Illustration: Liu Xidan/ GT

The training and drills conducted by the Southern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on the Chinese side of the China-Myanmar border attracted a lot of attention, and three Chinese naval vessels arrived at Thilawa Port, Myanmar on November 27 for a friendly visit, demonstrating the deep friendship and cooperation between China and Myanmar.

Myanmar is in a state of turmoil these days, amid fierce attacks from ethnic armed groups. China has long adhered to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, so the stance it takes on the current situation is being widely discussed. However, I believe that China will never change its principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries, because this principle is not only a matter of morality, but also related to China's national interests, and it is the best choice for China at present.

As for Myanmar, I have been to that country before, when Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy had just won the election and was about to take office. I witnessed the backwardness of Myanmar's economic and social development and the complexity of its political situation. In addition to the deep divisions between the elected government and the military, there is also a long-standing conflict between the government and ethnic minority armed groups. If China wanted to completely shape the situation in Myanmar on its own, it would require huge economic, political, and diplomatic costs, which is not a good choice for China.

China does not interfere in Myanmar's internal affairs, and this is trusted by Myanmar's military government. Zaw Min Tun, spokesman for the State Administration Council of Myanmar, said in response to China's drills along the Chinese side of the China-Myanmar border that Myanmar was told of the drills, adding that the military's aim is to "maintain stability and peace" near the border, and will not undermine China's policy of noninterference in Myanmar's internal affairs.

However, China's noninterference in Myanmar's internal affairs does not mean allowing large-scale telecommunications fraud activities in northern Myanmar that plunder the wealth of Chinese people. China has formed a firm determination to eradicate the cancer of telecommunications fraud in northern Myanmar, which has also had an impact in Myanmar. Combating telecommunications fraud is also beneficial to Myanmar and has received support from various forces, ultimately leading to the destruction of the notorious Ming family, who were accused of brutally killing four undercover Chinese police officers, according to media reports, as well as the disintegration of other families engaged in telecommunications fraud activities.

Engaging in telecommunications fraud activities that seriously harm the interests of the Chinese people across the border is also an offense to the entire country of China. Demanding the eradication of these telecommunications fraud groups is China's legitimate right.

Any force from neighboring countries of China engaging in collective criminal activities that seriously endanger the lives and property safety of Chinese citizens will definitely pay a heavy price. Those who challenge China's resolve will have no safe place to hide. China has the power, determination, and ability to achieve such results, which is the clear signal transmitted to the entire surrounding region by the successive destruction of telecommunications fraud groups in northern Myanmar.

At the same time, supporting the destruction of telecom fraud groups does not mean that China is ready to abandon its policy of noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries. The development of the political situation in Myanmar will be determined by its internal power struggle. China's biggest wish is for the Myanmar government army and ethnic armed groups to cease fire as soon as possible and return to the track of negotiation to resolve the issues.

China hopes for a peaceful Myanmar as its neighbor, which also aligns with China's national interests. Which country wants its neighboring country to be in an endless war? War means refugees, disruption of trade, and serious risks to the lives and property of Chinese nationals in the region. The fighting may even spill over into the Chinese side of the border. For Myanmar, the turmoil has become fertile ground for the rampant expansion of telecom fraud groups. Achieving peace in Myanmar would best serve China's interests.

It is inevitable for all parties in Myanmar to return to the negotiating table. The Chinese public's primary concern about the situation in Myanmar is to completely eliminate telecom fraud in northern Myanmar and resolutely prevent its resurgence in the future, but there are also other issues. The turmoil in Myanmar has seriously disrupted the lives of Chinese people in the border areas, and many schools there have had to close early. Personally, I sincerely hope that all parties in Myanmar will respond to the Chinese government's call to return to the negotiating table. China's proposition conveys goodwill and sincerity. China and Myanmar share a "Paukphaw" friendship. We hope for the best for Myanmar and will never push Myanmar onto the wrong path.

The author is a media professional. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn