Ethnic Kokang soldiers stand guard in the Myanmar-China border town of Laukkai.

YANGON – At least 30 people died in armed clashes at the Myanmar-China border on Monday,State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s office confirmed in a statement.

The attacks represent a severe blow to the country’s peace process.Five civilians and five policemen as well as another 10 unidentified people died in Laukkai in Kokang region, an area with close ties to neighbouring China.

“The military is now starting a clearance operation,” President Htin Kyaw’s spokesmsan Zaw Htay told dpa Monday evening.

Myanmar’s Shan state has been beset by conflict since fighting broke out in November.In 2015 clashes in the Kokang region left scores dead and forced tens of thousands over the border into China.

Nobel Peace Laureate and Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is calling the rebels to stop the fighting and join the peace process her government launched in August.

Myanmar has been struggling with conflicts between the central army and ethnic armed rebels since its independence from Britain in 1948. – dpa

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