China provide support for the Myanmar peace process
China's Special Envoy on Asian Affairs, Sun Guoxiang, met with ethnic non-state armed groups based along the Myanmar-China border this week, encouraging them to take part in the '21st Century Panglong' peace conference which is set to begin on 31st August in Naypyidaw, the Irrawaddy has reported.
Meetings included an important discussion with the United Wa State Army (UWSA) in Panghsang in the Wa area of Shan State. During the recent visit of Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to China, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to assist in the peace process and shortly afterwards, a Wa media group reported that three other delegates from the Chinese Foreign Ministry and six government delegates from Yunnan Province joined Mr Sun in this mission. Mr Sun addressed a summit of ethnic armed groups and announced that China had donated US$3 million via the UN in support of Myanmar's peace process. The meetings also involved discussions focussed on investment and major collaborative infrastructure projects to improve transport and trade links between China and the region.
China has traditionally maintained distance from politics and conflict in Myanmar but has recently become more demonstrative in its support of the peace process. China's influence may be significant in helping to achieve regional stability.