BEIJING (Reuters) - Myanmar has accepted responsibility and apologized for bombs dropped on Chinese territory last month that killed five people, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
The incident happened during clashes between Myanmar government forces and a rebel group called the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA). Thousands of refugees have fled to China as fighting flared on the Myanmar side of the border in the past month or so.
The Chinese government was infuriated by the deaths in its southwestern province of Yunnan, and warned of a “decisive” response should there be any repetition.
Meeting with his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that a joint team formed to look into the bombing had clearly ascertained what had happened, China’s Foreign Ministry said.
Wunna Maung Lwin accepted the results of the probe, which was that bombs from a Myanmar aircraft killed Chinese citizens, and extended his apologies and offered compensation, the ministry said in a statement.
“The Myanmar side will go after and punish in accordance with the law those responsible, and will also strengthen internal controls to avoid such an incident happening again,” the ministry added.
It said Myanmar will work with China to ensure stability along their 2,000 km (1,250 mile) border, much of which is remote and hard to access.
The MNDAA, led by ethnic Chinese commander Peng Jiasheng, was formed from remnants of the Communist Party of Burma, a powerful China-backed guerrilla force that battled the Myanmar government until it splintered in 1989.
The group struck a truce with the government which lasted until 2009, when government troops took over their region in a conflict that pushed tens of thousands of refugees into China’s Yunnan province.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore