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China lodges protest with Myanmar after land mine injures one

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday it had lodged a protest with Myanmar after a land mine injured a Chinese person on their common border, the latest incident of cross-border conflict to strain ties between the neighbours.

Rebel soldiers of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) patrol near a military base in Kokang region, March 10, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

China has repeatedly demanded effective action from Myanmar to contain fighting along the border between the Myanmar military and ethnic minority rebels.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the person was injured by a land mine on Sunday but she did not say exactly where the explosion happened.

“This situation is under further investigation,” Hua said at a daily news briefing. “We express serious concern over this.”

“The Chinese side has already made solemn representations to Myanmar and demanded that Myanmar take effective measures to avoid the future occurrence of a similar situation and prevent the conflict in north Myanmar from endangering the security of Chinese people’s lives and property.”

The Myanmar military has been battling several rebel groups including at least two that operate near Myanmar’s border with China, in Myanmar’s Shan State and Kachin State.

Thousands of Myanmar civilians have sought safety on the Chinese side of the border over the past few years because of the fighting.

Hua urged Myanmar to work with China to “safeguard the peace and stability of the China-Myanmar border region”.

When contacted by Reuters, Ye Htut, Myanmar’s minister of information and spokesman for the president’s office, declined to comment.

Last March, China was infuriated when five people were killed by stray bombs falling on its territory in Yunnan province during fighting in Myanmar.

China and Myanmar share a 2,000 km (1,250 mile) border, much of it remote and hard to access.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi said on Monday the peace process would be the first priority of her new government that will take power later this year, following a landslide victory in a November election.

Reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING and Timothy McLaughlin in YANGON, Writing by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Robert Birsel