(Reuters) – China’s embassy in Yangon said on Friday it had been in touch with “all parties” in military-ruled Myanmar, when asked about a report that a diplomat had spoken to a parallel government representing Aung San Suu Kyi’s ousted administration.
A counselor from the embassy spoke by phone with members of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) last week in the first contact between Chinese officials and the group since the military’s Feb. 1 coup, the Irrawaddy news service reported this week.
In response to Reuters’ query, the embassy said, “China has been in touch and in communication with all parties in Myanmar.”
“The purpose is to play the role of promoting peace and discussion, promoting the cooling of the situation and maintaining stability in Myanmar, resolving differences through dialogue and consultation, and continuing to drive the process of democratic transformation,” it said in an email.
Unlike Western countries, China has not condemned the army takeover, saying only that it hoped for stability in a neighbouring country where it ranks as the dominant trading partner and a major investor.
Myanmar’s junta has declared the CRPH an illegal organisation and charged its international envoy with treason for encouraging a civil disobedience campaign.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the coup, with strikes and almost daily protests in many parts of the country, some of which have been suppressed by security forces using lethal force.
An advocacy group tracking casualties says 614 civilians have been killed, including 48 children, and at least 2,800 are in detention.
China’s position has drawn the ire of many protesters, who have accused it of backing the junta.
China was among the few countries that had influence in Myanmar under the reclusive military’s 1962-2011 rule, when western sanctions had stifled its development and limited its international engagement.
(Reporting by Chen Lin in Singapore; Editing by Martin Petty)