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This picture taken on November 6, 2019 shows revellers celebrating as a hot-air balloon attached with fireworks explode with fireworks during the Tazaungdaing Lighting Festival at Taunggyi in Myanmar's northeastern Shan State. - Brightly coloured balloons with hundreds of homemade fireworks woven into their frames are sent soaring into the night sky, showering down cascades of sparks onto adoring crowds in the annual Taunggyi fire balloon festival. (Photo by Ye Aung THU / AFP)

CHINA recently contributed US$1 million (RM4.1 million) to fund the Myanmar government-led peace process with armed rebel groups in the country.

The fund was presented by China's Special Envoy for Asian Affairs, Sun Guoxiang, in his visit to the country, The Irrawaddy reported.

Of the total, US$400,000 is for the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC); while US$300,000 will go to the Peace Commission and the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JMC) each.

Union minister with the State Counsellor’s Office and vice chairman of the NRPC, U Kyaw Tint Swe, received the sum from Sun, according to a statement from the Information Ministry.

China's Xinhua News reported that the Chinese government will continue supporting the peace process in Myanmar.

Sun was quoted as saying that the friendship between the two countries remains cordial and that the contribution was the fourth made by China.

He said China is hopeful that peace can be hastened in the country, and assured that it will always support Myanmar in its continuous effort to achieve a resolution.

During his visit to Myanmar, the special envoy met with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

In Jan 2017, China contributed US$1 million to Myanmar’s peace process through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and pledged US$3 million until 2020. In Dec 2017, US$500,000 was donated to the JMC and 10 vehicles in June 2018 by the then-Chinese Ambassador, Hong Liang.

At a recent event marking the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), Aung San Suu Kyi announced a three-step plan to reboot the peace process and urged cooperation from armed ethnic groups as well other stakeholders.

According to The Frontier, the steps are: to continue holding the 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conferences; to involve non-signatories of the NCA in political dialogue; and to ensure that the people are able to enjoy the fruits of peace.

The government signed the ceasefire with eight groups in Oct 2015, but the country’s most powerful non-state armies have yet to ink the accord, leaving them on the fringes of the formal peace process.

Since the National League for Democracy government took office, the government has signed the NCA with just two additional armed groups.

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