The military coup and unrest in Myanmar are “absolutely not what China wants to see”, the Chinese ambassador to the Southeast Asian country said in remarks published Tuesday.
Envoy Chen Hai’s comments come as anti-coup protests escalate in Myanmar and the military steps up efforts to stifle opposition, with hundreds arrested since the seizure of power on February 1.
“We noticed Myanmar’s domestic dispute regarding the election for some time, but we were not informed in advance of the political change,” Chen said in comments released on the website of the Chinese embassy in Myanmar.
Traditional allies of Myanmar’s armed forces such as China and Russia had previously pushed back against international outcry over the coup, calling it interference in the country’s “internal affairs”.
Chinese state media earlier described the putsch and detention of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as “a major cabinet reshuffle”, rolling out euphemisms to avoid labelling the situation a coup.
But in remarks published Tuesday, Chen said: “The current development in Myanmar is absolutely not what China wants to see.”
He added that China hopes all parties can handle differences properly, maintaining political and social stability.
Chen said the UN Security Council’s recent press statement calling for reconciliation and the immediate release of all those detained “reflects the common position of the international community, including China”.
The military has justified its power seizure by alleging widespread voter fraud in November elections that Suu Kyi’s party won.
In the two weeks since the generals ousted Suu Kyi and put the civilian leader under house arrest in the administrative capital Naypyidaw, big cities and isolated village communities alike have been in open revolt.