China’s U.N. ambassador on Monday urged stronger diplomatic efforts to resolve the confrontation in Myanmar since the Feb. 1 military coup, warning that further violence could lead to a chaotic situation “and even a civil war.”
Zhang Jun also warned that “any wrong handling” might lead to further tension in Myanmar.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday strongly backed calls by Southeast Asian nations for an immediate cessation of violence and talks as a first step toward a solution following the military coup in Myanmar that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her party and reversed years of slow progress toward democracy.
The council again demanded the restoration of democracy and the release of all detainees including Suu Kyi and condemned the use of violence against peaceful protesters and the deaths of hundreds of civilians.
Zhang, who described Myanmar as “a friendly neighbor,” strongly backed diplomatic efforts by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations known as ASEAN and by U.N. special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, and expressed hope they would produce results. He said “China is not in favor of imposing sanctions.”
“We should really be creating a more favorable environment for bringing the country back to normal and finding a political solution through dialogues among the relevant political parties within the constitutional and legal framework,” he said.
Myanmar for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, culminating in Suu Kyi’s rise to leadership in 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and pouring investment into the country. The coup took place following November elections, which Suu Kyi’s party won overwhelmingly and the military contends was marred by fraud.
“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.”
“That’s why China is working very closely with the relevant parties urging them really to refrain from going extreme, avoiding violence, avoiding casualties, and try to find a solution with dialogue. That’s why the council is also now giving full support to the diplomatic efforts of ASEAN,” he said.
Zhang was asked whether China was concerned that Myanmar could descend into civil war, given that its military is fighting the Kachin and Karen ethnic minorities, which maintain their own armed forces, while also confronting pro-democracy protesters — amid reports that civilians, mainly students, are now receiving training in the use of weapons in ethnic areas.
“We do have similar concerns,” Zhang said. “We do believe that with diplomatic efforts we can avoid the further escalation of the tension.”
“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.”
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Zhang said China is also very concerned about the humanitarian impact of the crisis, citing U.N. envoy Schraner Burgener who pointed to more poor people losing jobs, civil servants refusing to work to protest the junta, and a brewing crisis of families in and around the main city Yangon “pushed to the edge” for food, going into debt and trying to survive.
In her briefing to the council Friday, obtained by The Associated Press, she also cited a World Food Program report that the combination of existing poverty, the COVID-19 pandemic and the political crisis have led to a sharp rise in “hunger and desperation,” and that within six months up to 3.4 million more people will suffer from hunger, particularly those in urban areas.
In again urging a diplomatic solution, Zhang warned that with further deterioration “definitely a humanitarian disaster or crisis will be inevitable so we do need to try our best to avoid that.”
Israel-Palestine Conflict: Rockets fired from Lebanon land off Israeli coast
Three rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Israel on Thursday, raising fears that violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip could spill over into other parts of the region.
The Israeli military announced that the rockets landed into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of northern Israel. No casualties were immediately reported from the strike.
The attack raises the risk of the violence expanding to two fronts as violence between Israel and militants in the Gaza Strip shows no signs of abating in the near future.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the latest attack, and Lebanese officials familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that it was unclear which group launched the rockets or precisely where they landed.
South Lebanon is the power base of the Shiite organization Hezbollah and other armed groups that have clashed with the Israeli military in the past, including during a brutal war in 2006.
The launches from Lebanon come as the Israeli military builds up its presence along the border with the Gaza Strip, with Israel not ruling out a ground offensive into the enclave to stop the rocket attacks.
An incursion would be the first since 2014, when dozens of Israeli troops and thousands of Palestinians were killed during the most recent war between Israel and Hamas, the armed group that controls the Gaza Strip.
Israel has launched a string of punishing air strikes on Gaza after Hamas and other groups fired a barrage of rockets across Israel. In a sign of the escalating violence, Hamas made the rare move of targeting Jerusalem and sending a flood of rockets to Tel Aviv, Israel’s major metropolitan area.
The violence was sparked after a now-suspended case in Israel over whether Jewish settlers could evict Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Clashes between residents and police escalated when Israeli police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the waning days of the holy month of Ramadan.
U.S. Colonial Pipeline Pays N2.043b In Ransom To Hackers
U.S. Colonial Pipeline has paid a ransom close to $5million, about N2.043 billion to hackers, who disrupted its gas supply to America’s east coast.
According to Bloomberg, the company paid the Eastern European hackers on Friday, contradicting earlier reports that it did not plan to pay.
Colonial Pipeline paid in cryptocurrency that was not traceable just hours after the attack, two sources with knowledge on the matter told Bloomberg on Thursday morning.
Upon getting the payment, the hackers provided Colonial Pipeline with a decrypting tool to restore the hacked network, according to the sources.
The FBI believes that the crippling cyberattack was orchestrated by a Russia-based criminal group.
The company said it started resuming operations Wednesday evening and by Thursday morning, product was flowing to most of the markets it services.
Israel And Palestine Conflict: Israeli Forces Hit Hamas Military Intelligence Centre, Many Feared Dead
Israeli Forces Hit Hamas Military Intelligence Centre, Many Feared Dead
The Israel Defense Forces has reported that it has just conducted an airstrike on a Hamas intelligence facility with dozens of operatives inside.
Moments ago, IDF jets and aircraft struck Hamas military intelligence offices in Gaza.
Before the strike, we warned civilians in the building & allowed sufficient time for them to evacuate the site.
We are continuing to strike terror targets in Gaza.
Israel Defense Forces
These are the faces of some of the top Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and terrorists.
They were responsible for the rocket attacks against Israel in the last 72 hours.
They will never plan another terror attack again.
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