Clashes in Myanmar between government troops and ethnic Kokang rebels near the Chinese border have left 47 soldiers dead and 73 wounded, state media said Friday.
The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported that the government in Myanmar, also known as Burma, had notified Beijing because fighting during the past week had forced thousands of civilians to flee across the border into China.
China's Foreign Ministry confirmed the fighting in Shan state and said it was providing assistance to the refugees who had crossed the border.
A ministry spokesman told the VOA Burmese service that China was still trying to determine the exact number of refugees. He said that once the situation had eased, the refugees would return to Myanmar.
The spokesman added that China supported all efforts to resolve the conflict in Myanmar through dialogue.
The Global New Light of Myanmar said that a Kokang renegade group had attacked military stations with the objective of capturing Laukai, capital of the self-administered Kokang zone near the border. It was not known how many rebels had been killed or wounded.
The Kokang was formerly a pro-communist fighting force that battled the government until signing a cease-fire in 1989. Fighting resumed in 2009.
Some material for this report came from Reuters.