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China sent fighter jets to patrol its border with Burma after a bomb dropped by a Burmese warplane killed four Chinese in southwestern Yunnan province, state media reported Saturday.
The bomb hit a sugarcane field in Lincang city on Friday, killing four workers and injuring nine others, China’s official news agency Xinhua said.
It came days after China warned of escalating violence near the border following a surge in ethnic conflict in the remote Kokang region in Burma’s northeastern Shan State.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force on Friday sent several fighter jets to “track, monitor, warn and chase away” Burma military planes flying close to China’s border, air force spokesman Shen Jinke was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin summoned the Burma ambassador to Beijing, Thit Linn Ohn, on Friday night to protest against the deaths, the agency said.
Liu urged Naypyidaw to “thoroughly investigate” the case and “take immediate and effective measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents”, said Xinhua.
He called on the Burmese authorities to “safeguard the security and stability in the border areas between China and Burma”, the agency added.
China’s foreign ministry said earlier this week that a house in Yunnan had been hit by shelling from across the border in Burma, where the military are fighting rebel forces.
Last month, Burma declared a state of emergency in Kokang in response to the conflict, which began on 9 February.
The unrest has virtually emptied the main Kokang town of Laogai [also spelled Laukkai], the epicentre of the fighting, with streets in the once-bustling frontier community transformed into a battleground.
More than 30,000 people have fled from Burma into Yunnan province, according to Xinhua.