Xi urges stable Myanmar ties in changing political winds

By Bai Tiantian and Chen Heying Source:Global Times Published: 2015/6/12 1:08:01

China hopes Myanmar will continue to advance friendly ties no matter how its domestic political situation changes, said Chinese President Xi Jinping during his meeting with Myanmar opposition party leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday in Beijing.

Suu Kyi is leading a delegation from Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) on a five-day visit to China that started Wednesday. She was invited by the Communist Party of China (CPC) for a party-to-party exchange tour, according to the CPC, with Xi being the Party leader.

This is the first China visit by Suu Kyi, who is seen in the West as an icon of democracy.

"China always treats the China-Myanmar relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective," Xi said, adding that China supports Myanmar's efforts to safeguard sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, respects Myanmar's choice of development path on its own, and backs the process of national reconciliation in Myanmar.

"We hope and believe that the Myanmar side will also maintain a consistent stance on the China-Myanmar relationship and be committed to advancing friendly ties, no matter how its domestic situation changes," the Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying on Thursday.

Myanmar ended its military rule and adopted a democratic election system since 2011. The country will hold another general election in November this year, in which the NLD is expected to do well and may challenge the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

Bi Shihong, a professor at the School of International Studies of Yunnan University, said that Xi's emphasis on consistent China-Myanmar ties was intended to stress that the two countries' relations will not be dented by a few recent troubles.

Although major projects invested by China in Myanmar, such as the Myitsone dam, have been stalled and conflicts between Myanmar government troops and Kokang militants have spilled across the Chinese border causing the death of Chinese civilians, bilateral relations have not stopped or been set back as some Western observers have described, Bi told the Global Times on Thursday.

He said the engagement with Suu Kyi is part of China's multi-faceted diplomacy with Myanmar through a variety of channels. China invited U Shwe Mann, chairman of Myanmar's ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, for a visit in April. Myanmar journalists and scholars have also been invited on separate occasions to get a better understanding of China as well, Bi said.

While stressing the unchanging China-Myanmar ties for 65 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Xi also called on Suu Kyi and the NLD to continue to play a constructive role in guiding the Myanmar people on China-Myanmar cooperation in an unbiased and rational way, and "instill more positive energy into the bilateral ties."

For her part, Suu Kyi said the NLD attaches great importance to the China-Myanmar friendship. The party admires China's remarkable developmental achievements under the leadership of the CPC, and hopes to further strengthen the two parties' relationship through the visit, according to Xinhua.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Shen Yueyue, vice chairperson of the National People's Congress Standing Committee and president of the All-China Women's Federation, respectively, also met Suu Kyi on Thursday.

Myanmar official media published an amendment to the 2008 state constitution on Thursday, signed by President U Thein Sein, which deleted the restriction that a presidential candidate is disqualified if they have a son- or daughter-in-law who is a foreign citizen or enjoys the privileges of a foreign government. However, the section retains the ban on those whose spouse or legitimate child is a foreign citizen and enjoys the privileges of a foreign government.

Suu Kyi will also travel to Shanghai and Yunnan Province, which recently hosted a Chinese military drill near the border with Myanmar after Myanmar's civil war caused casualties across the border, according to media reports.

Xinhua contributed to this story

Posted in: Diplomacy, News

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