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Myanmar apologizes for bombing

Mo Jingxi
Updated: Apr 3,2015 8:17 AM     China Daily

Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) holds talks with Myanmar Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin in Beijing, capital of China, April 2, 2015. U Wunna Maung Lwin is paying a visit to China as Myanmar President U Thein Sein’s special envoy.[Photo/Xinhua]

Visiting foreign minister voices sympathy for victims’ families and those injured in incident.

Myanmar officially apologized on April 2 for Chinese casualties caused by an aerial bombing at the border between the two countries last month.

A statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website said Myanmar’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Wunna Maung Lwin also expressed sympathy for the victims’ families and the injured on behalf of his government and army.

The apology came during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Wunna Maung Lwin said that Myanmar acknowledged the conclusion reached by a joint investigation that a bomb dropped by a Myanmar warplane killed and injured Chinese near the border.

He had been authorized by Myanmar President Thein Sein to visit China for discussions on the bombing.

Four people were killed and nine others injured on March 13 when a bomb hit a sugar cane field in Lincang, a city in Yunnan province, which borders Myanmar.

The Myanmar official said his country is willing to keep in touch with China on the compensation, find and punish those responsible in accordance with the law and avoid similar occurrences.

Wang said China hopes that Myanmar can treat the incident seriously, handle it properly and maintain border stability, as “facts and responsibilities” have been made clear through a field investigation and several rounds of talks.

The Chinese statement said the two countries agreed to work closely and implement agreements reached during their talks to develop the all-around strategic partnership between them.

Xu Liping, a researcher of Southeast Asian affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the special envoy’s visit and apology, although coming late, show Myanmar’s sincerity in improving its relations with China after the bombing.

China should respond positively and welcome the apology, Xu said.

“The key issue now is that both countries should make concrete efforts to keep peace and transuility in border areas,” he said.

Beijing has lodged “solemn representations” with Myanmar several times over the bombing.

Since the incident, China’s air force has sent several groups of fighter jets to “track, monitor, warn and chase away” military planes from Myanmar flying close to the border.

During a phone call with the Myanmar military on March 14, Fan Changlong, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, called on Myanmar to punish the perpetrators and apologize to and compensate victims’ families.

Premier Li Keqiang said at a news conference on March 15 that China has the responsibility and ability to safeguard the stability of its border areas.

Heavy fighting broke out on Feb 9 between Myanmar government forces and a local ethnic militia, the National Democratic Alliance Army, in Kokang region, involving an air-strike by the government forces.

Stray fire has caused casualties and property losses for Chinese, and more than 30,000 people have fled from Myanmar into Yunnan. The two countries share a 2,000-km border.