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China, UN talk of Sudan, Myanmar

Other News Materials 21 October 2007 11:20

( AP ) - China has discussed tensions in Sudan and Myanmar with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

But a ministry statement did not release details of the Saturday night telephone call between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Ban.

Critics say China has not used its influence with the governments of Sudan and Myanmar to try to alleviate major humanitarian crises in the two countries. Some international human rights groups have called for boycotts of next year's Beijing Olympics unless China acts.

China is one of Sudan's closest allies, buying two-thirds of its oil output and supplying the government with weapons. Beijing has been urged to pressure Khartoum to hasten the deployment of an African Union-U.N. peacekeeping force in the troubled Darfur region. More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been driven from their homes during the 4-year-old Darfur conflict.

The Chinese have also come under pressure to use their influence with Myanmar's ruling junta to urge the regime to show restraint after a violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

Tens of thousands of people turned out for rallies in Myanmar last month. The junta claims that 10 people were killed when troops opened fire on demonstrators. Diplomats and dissidents say the death toll was much higher.

Beijing earlier this month agreed to the issuing of a statement of concern by the U.N. Security Council over the crackdown.

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