Myanmar's army chief is blaming ethnic Kokang rebels for shelling attacks in southwestern China that he says aim to damage relations between China and Myanmar.

At a meeting Monday in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, the army chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, told China's ambassador to Myanmar that the shells that fell into Yunnan province, near northeastern Myanmar, last week were not from government troops but from the rebels.

China complained Friday of shells and airstrikes hitting their side of the border. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged Myanmar to restore stability to the region "as soon as possible."

A similar incident took place in March, with Myanmar promising to punish those responsible.

The latest incident occurred as the government stepped up its fight against Kokang rebels along China's southwestern border.