Chinese security personnel stand near a police vehicle after artillery shells hit in Nansan, Yunnan Province in this screenshot obtained from a video on social media, on January 3, 2024.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday that China protested to Myanmar after five people were injured by artillery shells thrown during battles between the ruling military junta and rebel groups that strayed into a small town near its border.
Armed conflict in northern Myanmar between the military and rebel groups has escalated since late October, sparking calls for a ceasefire from neighboring China, which has also facilitated dialogue between the two sides.
“China deeply regrets the Chinese casualties caused by the conflict and has already made solemn representations to relevant parties,” said Wang Wenbin, a government spokesman.
“China once again asks all parties to the conflict to cease fire, stop fighting, and take measures to prevent the recurrence of such heinous events,” Wang said at a regular press briefing.
He added that China will take the necessary steps to protect the lives and property of its citizens.
Earlier, the state-run Global Times newspaper said that five people in Nansan, a subtropical town near Myanmar, were taken to hospital after being injured on Wednesday by stray shells.
A video of the incident, which the newspaper posted on social media, showed a person lying on the sidewalk as people shouted: “Call the police!”
The newspaper added in the video that officials in the city of Jinkang in Yunnan Province, southwest of the country, confirmed that the bombing deviated from Lakai in the Kokang region in northern Myanmar at around two o’clock in the afternoon on Wednesday.
The incident comes after the Chinese embassy in Myanmar last week urged its citizens to leave Lucai as soon as possible, citing increasing security risks.
For many years, Kokang in Myanmar's Shan State was a turbulent and turbulent area.
In 2015, shells from the region also landed across the border in Yunnan province amid fighting between Myanmar government forces and rebels, wounding one Chinese man and four Myanmar nationals, angering Beijing.
Some of the fighting took place within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of the China-Myanmar border at the time.
In 2009, clashes in the same area forced tens of thousands to flee across the border into China, Chinese state media and human rights groups reported.
In mid-December, the United Nations estimated that more than 660,000 people had been displaced in Myanmar since October 27, and put the corresponding total nationwide at about 2.6 million people.
China urged its citizens to avoid traveling to northern Myanmar, and advised those there to seek safety or return to their homes.
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