(Reuters) – China will transfer more than $ 6 million to the Myanmar government to fund 21 development projects, Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry said, as a sign of resuming cooperation under the junta that toppled an elected government February 1.
Unlike Western countries which condemned the junta for cutting short democracy and the murder and imprisonment of its opponents, China has taken a softer line and said its priorities are stability and not interfere with its neighbor.
A foreign ministry statement said the funds were to be transferred from China for projects under the Mekong-Lancang cooperation. He said these included animal vaccines, culture, agriculture, science, tourism and disaster prevention.
An agreement was signed with the Chinese ambassador to Myanmar on Monday, the statement said. The Chinese Embassy’s Facebook page confirmed the signing.
Opponents of the Burmese junta have accused China of supporting the military takeover, in which elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted and detained. Beijing has dismissed the accusations and said it supports regional diplomacy over the crisis.
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Western countries have continued to provide emergency aid to Myanmar, including $ 50 million announced by Washington on Tuesday to support relief groups in Myanmar amid the fallout from an upsurge in COVID-19 infections.
China’s influence has grown in Myanmar in recent years, with the opening of oil and gas pipelines crossing the country and projects for economic zones and major port development.
(Reuters staff report; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Ed Davies)
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