Myanmar state media says the government has informed China after a flare up in fighting between troops and ethnic Kokang rebels near border that left 47 government soldiers dead and 73 wounded.

The Global New Light of Myanmar said Friday that there have been more than 13 clashes in the last several days between government troops and Kokang rebels near Laukkai close to the border, with the government carrying out five airstrikes.

China has expressed concern about the clashes which force civilians to flee across the border.

The Kokang guerrillas were formerly the main fighting force for the now-defunct Burmese Communist Party until a cease-fire was signed in 1989. Kokang leader Phone Kya Shin fled Myanmar in 2009 after government forces raided a Kokang weapons factory.