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Chinese defence ministry on high alert as fighting breaks out in Myanmar border towns

Fierce fighting broke out in northern Myanmese villages bordering China early on Sunday, resulting in at least two wounded in a Chinese town as shells strayed across the border, state media reported.

China’s defence ministry said the military was on high alert and would take necessary measures to maintain security.

The fighting in Muse and Kutkai, border towns in Myanmar’s Shan state, also killed two Myanmese civilians and wounded 25 ­others, Agence France-Presse ­reported.

The fighting involved the Kachin Independence Army, Ta-ang National Liberation Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army.

Fighting broke out in several villages in the area at around 2.40am and lasted until later in the morning, CCTV reported.

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Authorities in Wanding, Yunnan province, activated an emergency response and deployed more armed police on the border. A hospital in Wanding had received a Myanmese whose leg was wounded and a local resident who had suffered an arm wound, online news portal Thepaper.cn reported.

Global Times, a Beijing-based tabloid affiliated with People’s Daily, quoted an unnamed Chinese source as saying that about 80 Myanmese refugees had entered Wanding.

CCTV reported that stray shells had fallen on the Chinese side of the border, and one villager reported that the water tank on a solar water heater on his roof was pierced.

But a resident in Jiegao township in Ruili, which is adjacent to Muse, said the situation was calm.

“I’ve neither heard any gunshots nor seen any Myanmese refugees,” the villager said, adding that life in Jiegao – only a few kilometres from the border – was still normal.

Aye Aye, a resident of Muse, said: “People from the border checkpoint are now fleeing to Muse town because of heavy fighting, but we do not know which groups are fighting yet.”

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The latest clashes are another blow to civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s hopes of forging a nationwide peace deal after years of war among ethnic minorities in Myanmar’s border regions.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said yesterday that parties to the conflict should show restraint to keep confrontations from escalating.