China's Envoy Hints of Possible Civil War in Myanmar

Published May 4th, 2021 - 08:22 GMT
More violence might spiral into civil war in Myanmar
Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against the military coup on "Global Myanmar Spring Revolution Day" in Taunggyi, Shan state on May 2, 2021. STR / AFP
Chinese Envoy to the UN: More violence might spiral into civil war in Myanmar.

China’s ambassador to the United Nations (UN) has urged the United States to soften its economic pressure on North Korea, and called for urgent diplomatic efforts in Myanmar, where he warned more violence might spiral into civil war.

Pointing to the newly-released White House review of its North Korea policy, Ambassador Zhang Jun said, “We hope the result of the review will give more importance to diplomatic efforts, to dialog, instead of emphasizing too much the importance of extreme pressure,” Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The remarks by Zhang came a day after US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan claimed that the US President Joe Biden administration’s policy toward Pyongyang “is not aimed at hostility” but at “achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

China’s UN envoy, who holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council (UNSC) for the month of May, said that was the right path.

“Based on what we have seen in the past years, we do believe that diplomatic efforts represent the right direction,” Zhang said.

North Korea, however, has slammed as “intolerable” recent comments by Biden, wherein he called Pyongyang’s nuclear program a threat.

Pyongyang says its nuclear and missile programs serve as a deterrent against the US and South Korea, which hold joint war games near North Korea every year.

‘Myanmar turmoil may spell into civil war’

Discussing Myanmar during a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York, the UNSC president called for stronger diplomatic measures to resolve the upheaval in the Southeast Asian country, which began following a February 1 military coup.

Zhang warned that “any wrong handling” of the situation could lead to further tensions “and even a civil war” in the country.

He expressed the Security Council’s strong backing for deferring the Myanmar crisis to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), even though the country’s military junta has rejected a plan by the regional bloc to resolve the crisis.

“The Council is giving full support to the diplomatic efforts of ASEAN,” said the Chinese diplomat. “It’s China’s will that regional organizations should really play a vital role in tackling regional situations.”

“We should really be creating a more favorable environment for bringing the country back to normal and finding a political solution through dialogs among the relevant political parties within the constitutional and legal framework,” Zhang added.


“With further escalation of the tension, there will be more confrontation; and with more confrontation, there will be more violence; and with more violence, there will be more casualties, and then we may go further down the wrong direction,” he warned. “It may also mean a chaotic situation in Myanmar and even a civil war.”

The remarks came after the UNSC last Friday strongly backed ASEAN calls for an immediate halt to violence and talks as the first step toward a solution in Myanmar.

The Myanmarese military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a supposed ally of the military, and a number of other politicians in the coup on February 1.

It has since been cracking down on protesters supporting Suu Kyi and a return to civilian rule.

The military attempted to justify the coup by claiming that Suu Kyi’s party had cheated in elections in November last year.

The UNSC also demanded the restoration of democracy and the release of all detainees, including Suu Kyi, censuring the use of violence against peaceful protesters and the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

“It’s mainly an issue relating to the difference on the election,” Zhang said. “The political parties should be able to find a solution on that. So that’s why China prefers... more diplomatic efforts.”

Zhang also underlined that China’s priorities as the president of the Security Council in May included highlighting efforts to strengthen multilateralism, addressing regional conflicts in Africa, and continuing a focus on helping the world address the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of those efforts, Zhang said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi would host at least two virtual, high-level meetings in May.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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