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China 'deeply concerned' about Thailand turmoil

world Updated: Apr 12, 2010 13:23 IST

China has said it is "deeply concerned" about tensions in Thailand, after 21 people were killed in the country's worst political unrest in almost two decades.

"China is deeply concerned about the situation in Thailand", foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement.

"As a friendly, close neighbour, China sincerely hopes the normal social order in Thailand will be restored at an early date so that the political situation will stabilise, the economy will develop and the people will live and work in peace", she said.

Seventeen civilians and four soldiers were killed and more than 800 people injured Saturday in clashes between security forces and supporters of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra in Bangkok.

The defiant "Red Shirts" have demanded that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva step down, and have vowed to keep up their bid to topple the government unless it dissolves parliament and calls fresh elections.

It is the latest chapter in years of turmoil pitting the ruling elite against the mainly poor and rural Reds, who say the government is illegitimate as it came to power in 2008 after a court ousted Thaksin's allies from power.

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