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China Urges Myanmar Junta to Hold Talks With Opponents

In this photo provided by Myanmar's Ministry of Information, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, center, is welcomed by Myanmar Foreign Ministry representatives and Chinese embassy officials upon his arrival at Nyaung Oo Airport in Bagan, Myanmar, July 2, 2022.

China's foreign minister called for Myanmar's junta to hold talks with its opponents Sunday during his first visit to the country since the 2021 coup that plunged it into turmoil.

Beijing is one of the Myanmar military's few international allies, supplying arms and refusing to label the power grab that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's government as a coup.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China expects all parties in Myanmar to "adhere to rational consultation" and "strive to achieve political reconciliation.”

Wang also told counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin that "China sincerely hopes that Myanmar will be politically and socially stable," according to a statement on the foreign ministry's website.

In Beijing's highest profile visit to Myanmar since the putsch, Wang is attending a foreign ministers' meeting with representatives from Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam attending.

His comments follow a junta spokesman indicating last week that talks between the military and ousted leader Suu Kyi to resolve the chaos were "not impossible.”

Myanmar's spiraling civil violence has sparked concern from its neighbors, with a regional envoy visiting to try to kick-start talks between the army and its opponents.

And with Western governments imposing sanctions following the coup and a violent crackdown on dissent, the isolated junta has turned increasingly to allies including China and Russia.

In May, a powerful Myanmar ethnic rebel group with close ties to China called for the junta to engage in dialogue with the opposition to end the escalating violence, which has seen Chinese business interests attacked.

Beijing said in April it would help safeguard Myanmar's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity "no matter how the situation changes.”