Suu Kyi meeting heralds good beginning for Sino-Myanmar ties

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-5 19:01:44

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has started a two-day visit to Myanmar on Tuesday, becoming the first high-ranking foreign official to meet the country's new government, which took power in late March. The maiden trip also came after Aung San Suu Kyi was appointed foreign minister of Myanmar. This shows that the two countries attach great significance to each other.

For a long time, Western media outlets have speculated about possible changes in Beijing-Nay Pyi Taw ties, but they were just wishful thinking from the outside world. The bilateral relationship has been built upon a solid foundation based on traditional friendliness and pragmatic interests. Wang's visit brings a favorable beginning for cooperation between the two neighbors in a new era. It also indicates that the positive factors embedded within bilateral ties will continue to play a role.

The decisive power shift in Myanmar has been viewed as a "peaceful revolution" by some outside observers. The political orientation seems to be going to the opposite direction and some may find some ground to say that Myanmar is drifting apart from China.

However, the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) has never indicated that it would reevaluate its ties with China, nor has Suu Kyi herself. As Wang was the first foreign official Suu Kyi met after she became foreign minister, this will ease external doubts over China-Myanmar relations.

Power shifts are common in China's neighboring countries, but in most cases, developing friendly cooperation with China goes beyond the party politics and strife of factions in these countries. This is likely to apply in Myanmar, as suggested by the NLD's friendly embrace of China after it took office.

Ahead of Myanmar lies the arduous task of developing economy and improving people's wellbeing, while China is a natural partner in Myanmar's path toward economic modernization. The two countries enjoy high economic complementarity and connectivity. As China has become the largest trading partner and foremost investment source of most ASEAN members and the ASEAN as a whole, it is evidently feasible that China and Myanmar join hands to seek development and prosperity.

As China sticks to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, deepening China-Myanmar cooperation will be unlikely to pose threats to Myanmar's political independence. Myanmar's independent policy will always be respected by China. The majority of Chinese hope that Myanmar can maintain long-term peace and stability. Chinese people are unwilling to see Myanmar refugees flood into border areas with China or bombs mistakenly fall on Chinese soil.

Chinese society thinks highly of the NLD smoothly taking power. There have been speculations about divergences between the NLD and the military over the posts of Aung San Suu Kyi. We hope this is only a minor episode. Myanmar is able to handle the political difficulties in the country's transition and solidify its political reconciliation.

A stable Myanmar under new systems with predictable national policies is in accordance with China's national interests, since this will reduce the difficulties China has to face when making policy adjustments due to political change in Myanmar. The highly converged interests of China and Myanmar will revitalize bilateral cooperation.  

Mega projects like the Myitsone Dam will hopefully be revived. China is also hoped to diversify its investment in Myanmar. Wang's visit is timely. It therefore has garnered worldwide attention due to its significance.

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