The People's Liberation Army will conduct live-fire drills near the Myanmar border from today. Analysts say the drills are meant to send a message to Myanmar, which is struggling to contain its fight against an ethnic insurgency from spilling over the border. In the past three months, stray bombs have caused Chinese casualties and thousands of Myanmese have crossed into Yunnan province. Troops from the army and air force would stage the drill along the border of Gengma and Zhenkang counties in Yunnan, which neighbours Myanmar, said PLA Chengdu Military Area Command spokesman Zhao Picong. He did not say when the drill would end, but state news agency Xinhua said an announcement would be made "in due course". Zhao said China had notified Myanmar of the drill. The exercise would take place in a restricted area and there would be no interruption to daily life, said Zhao. Tensions have flared in the border area since Myanmese government troops fought insurgents in the country's northeastern Shan state in February. In March, the battle spilled over to Yunnan when a Myanmese plane accidentally dropped a bomb on a sugarcane plantation in Gengma county, killing five Chinese and injuring eight. Last month, two bombs injured five people in Zhenkang county. Beijing responded by sending fighter jets to patrol the border, with Premier Li Keqiang promising to "resolutely protect" citizens. Yue Gang, a military commentator and a retired military officer, said the exercise was clearly meant to send a message to Myanmar over its failure to contain the conflict. "In addition to the bombing incidents, China has also been provoked by the intrusion over the Chinese border of a number of Myanmese," Yue said. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the drill was a "normal activity" for the military, but confirmed that China had called on Myanmar to ensure the safety of the border. Nearly 90,000 civilians in northeastern Myanmar were thought to have fled the fighting, Agence France-Presse reported. It said at least 30,000 people from Myanmar, mostly the ethnically Chinese Kokang, had crossed into Yunnan. Yue said this explained why the PLA had not specified when the exercise would end. "This is to show that Beijing is really unhappy about the issue." Residents in Gengma and Zhenkang said the areas were relatively peaceful. "We have heard about the start of the exercise, but so far we have not felt the tension," a driver in Gengma said. A restaurant operator in Gengma said he had been told to follow traffic orders by local and military authorities. Asked whether he knew anything about the fighting in Myanmar, he said he knew only that it was serious. A hotel clerk in Zhenkang said that since the bombing there had been calm. "I was told there is no war during the day now on the Myanmar side. Some of our hotel guests have even gone there for day visits."