China-Myanmar ties strengthen under BRI

By Chen Hai Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/27 17:58:40

Building a community with a shared future under the BRI and pauk-phaw friendship

A gas station along the China-Myanmar crude oil and gas pipeline in Yenangyaung, Myanmar on June 5, 2013 Photo: VCG

This year is a milestone year for China-Myanmar relations.

China and Myanmar witnessed the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations on June 8, 2020, during which President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang exchanged congratulatory messages with Myanmar President U Win Myint and Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to celebrate this important historic moment.

At the beginning of this year, President Xi paid a historic visit to Myanmar under invitation and achieved remarkable results - the two sides agreed to build a China-Myanmar community with a shared future, ushering in a new era for the bilateral relations.

When COVID-19 swept the world, China and Myanmar made joint efforts to fight against the pandemic. Positive progress has been made in virus prevention and control, and in cooperation on building the Belt and Road and the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC).

Joint battle against pandemic

China and Myanmar have worked together to fight the pandemic, demonstrating China-Myanmar pauk-phaw (fraternal) friendship, and a community with a shared future of mutual assistance.

After COVID-19 broke out in China, President U Win Myint, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other state leaders sent messages of sympathy and support to China. The Myanmar government provided rice to China, and the Myanmar army sent special air force planes to deliver medical supplies to China when its own medical supplies were insufficient. All sectors of Myanmar society actively donated resources and materials in various ways and expressed their support for the Chinese government and people through concrete actions.

Since the outbreak began in Myanmar, China has actively assisted the country in fighting the pandemic. The Chinese government has provided four batches of aid materials to Myanmar, and the Chinese military, enterprises and social organizations have donated anti-virus materials.

The Chinese government and military have also sent three teams of medical experts to provide Myanmar with laboratory testing equipment, including nucleic acid testing equipment, and trained a large number of medical workers, effectively enhancing Myanmar's virus prevention and control capacity.

New opportunities in hard times

Myanmar was one of the first countries to respond to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). During President Xi's visit to Myanmar at the beginning of the year, he held in-depth discussions with Myanmar leaders on promoting the high-quality joint development of the Belt and Road, reaching an important consensus on the initiative.

During the pandemic, China and Myanmar have overcome many difficulties and made solid progress in practical cooperation.

New progress has been made in the three pillars of the CMEC. The project operating entity of the Kyaukpyu deep-water port in Myanmar's Rakhine State will be established soon. The local working group of the Ruili-Muse Cross-Border Economic Cooperation Zone has successfully held its first meeting, and construction of the pilot area of New Yangon City Project is also expected to start soon.

In response to difficulties in personnel and material exchanges, China and Myanmar have set up a "fast track," through which up to 400 people including those in oil, gas, power generation and infrastructure projects have been able to return to work, boosting the CMEC and other cooperation amid the crisis.

The Chinese embassy has also assisted textiles enterprises in overcoming the impact of the pandemic, and has actively promoted the opening of temporary charter cargo routes for the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles and China's 9 Air to transport urgently needed raw materials from Guangzhou to Yangon, effectively alleviating material shortages.

On the basis of effectively preventing and controlling the spread of the virus, the embassy has been actively working to set up a green channel, arrange for additional personnel and extend the working hours of customs clearance staff so as to speed up the cross-border transport of goods, major agricultural products and other supplies to China.

Community with a shared future

This year, China will complete its construction of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve its first centenary goal. Myanmar's economic and social development has also been further advanced. 

We are ready to synergize our development strategies with Myanmar to jointly build the Belt and Road and the CMEC, so as to achieve high-quality and sustainable common development and meet the livelihood aspirations of the two peoples.

We will work with Myanmar to safeguard peace and stability and, on the basis of respecting Myanmar's wishes, continue to play a constructive role in promoting domestic peace and realizing national reconciliation in Myanmar.

We are also willing to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges with Myanmar, hosting a series of activities celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and jointly holding the China-Myanmar Year of Culture and Tourism.

Former Chinese Foreign Minister Chen Yi wrote: "Deep are the feelings of pauk-phaw, just as long is the flow of our rivers."

We believe that with the joint efforts of the two governments and peoples, China-Myanmar relations will gain stronger momentum, and the BRI and the CMEC will inject new vitality into the economic and social development of our two countries, delivering tangible benefits to the people on both sides.  

The concept of a China-Myanmar community with a shared future will gain greater popularity and enjoy brighter prospects.

Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai Photo: Courtesy of the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar

The author is the Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar.

Newspaper headline: China-Myanmar ties strengthen


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