BANGKOK -- The Chinese embassy has made the first contact with Myanmar’s parallel civilian government formed by ousted lawmakers after the military coup in the Southeast Asian country, a local daily, The Irrawaddy, reported Thursday.
The newspaper, citing multiple unnamed sources, said a Chinese embassy counselor spoke over the phone with members of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH).
The committee represents MPs from Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD). The lawmakers were not allowed to take their seats after the military seized power on Feb. 1.
The committee claims that it represents the elected government, but the military junta has declared it illegitimate.
“During the phone call, the two sides discussed the turmoil that has engulfed Myanmar since the military takeover,” the newspaper said.
China has not condemned the Myanmar military coup and vetoed a vote calling for sanctions in the United Nations Security Council.
The major Western powers, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, have sought economic and military sanctions against Myanmar's military rulers.
The Myanmar military has unleashed brutal repression against anti-coup demonstrators that has left nearly 600 civilians dead in the weeks of pro-democracy protests.
The Irrawaddy newspaper reported that the panel of the NLD lawmakers demanded China back the efforts of the committee and the Myanmar people “to bring down the coup leaders and restore civilian rule to the country.”
The committee members live underground in Myanmar amid a widespread military crackdown on politicians and activists, many of whom are in detention since the coup.
During the call, the Chinese diplomat reiterated their ambassador’s earlier comments that the current situation was not what China wanted to see.
The counselor expressed concern over the safety of the Chinese citizens and investments in Myanmar.
The Chinese official reminded the CRPH members that the investments were approved under the civilian government of the NLD.
People set afire dozens of textile factories, including some owned by Chinese businessmen, in an industrial district of Yangon, during demonstrations against the military coup in March.
China has denied having supported or given tacit consent to the coup and reiterated that it expected all parties to resolve their differences and promote stability in the country.
Meanwhile, protests against the military and the arrest of Suu Kyi and other politicians and activists continued across the country.
The military Thursday arrested Myanmar's leading actor, singer, and model, Paing Takhon, who has backed the anti-coup protesters.
The military has justified the coup on alleged fraud during November’s general elections, in which Suu Kyi's party won a landslide following polls which international observers say were legitimate.