China lodges protest with Myanmar after land mine injures one

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China said on Tuesday (Jan 5) it had lodged a protest with Myanmar after a land mine injured a Chinese person on their common border, the latest incident of cross-border conflict to strain ties between the neighbours.

China has repeatedly demanded effective action from Myanmar to contain fighting along the border between the Myanmar military and ethnic minority rebels.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said the person was injured by a land mine on Sunday (Jan 3) but she did not say exactly where the explosion happened.

"This situation is under further investigation," Ms Hua said at a daily news briefing. "We express serious concern over this."

"The Chinese side has already made solemn representations to Myanmar and demanded that Myanmar take effective measures to avoid the future occurrence of a similar situation and prevent the conflict in north Myanmar from endangering the security of Chinese people's lives and property."

The Myanmar military has been battling several rebel groups including at least two that operate near Myanmar's border with China, in Myanmar's Shan and Kachin states.

Thousands of Myanmar civilians have sought safety on the Chinese side of the border over the past few years because of the fighting.

Ms Hua urged Myanmar to work with China to "safeguard the peace and stability of the China-Myanmar border region".

When contacted by Reuters, Mr Ye Htut, Myanmar's Information Minister and spokesman for the president's office, declined to comment.

Last March, China was infuriated when five people were killed by stray bombs falling on its territory in Yunnan province during fighting in Myanmar.

China and Myanmar share a 2,000km border, much of it remote and hard to access.

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi said on Monday (Jan 4) the peace process would be the first priority of her new government that will take power later this year, following a landslide victory in the November election.