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China urges Myanmar to boost economic ties, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi agrees

LUN MIN MANG The Myanmar Times DEC 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to further strengthen and expand economic cooperation between their two countries.

President Xi Jinping said their two countries should nurture new growth points, which includes the construction of China-Myanmar economic corridor with the purpose of advancing bilateral relations.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has agreed with the suggestion of the Chinese leader during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the dialogue of Communist Party China with representatives global political parties last weekend in Beijing.

According to the Chinese media, President Xi Jinping said China will maintain a friendly relation with Myanmar. He also said China and Myanmar should keep the good relations and implement the consensus reached by both sides.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying that progress in relations between China and Myanmar was important, recalling the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

The China-Myanmar economic corridor is part of a grand plan to boost connectivity between four countries – Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM).

The project will connect Kunming, south-western city of China, where the corridor will continue to run to Kolkata, connecting Mandalay of Myanmar and Dhaka and Chittagong of Bangladesh.

Dr Zaw Myint Maung, the chief minister of Mandalay region accompanied the State Counsellor’s visit to Beijing.

The State Counsellor’s Office said in a statement that Xi Jinping and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi discussed accelerating the strategic cooperation between the two countries.

The statement also said the two leaders discussed China’s assistance for projects to be implemented by the two countries and the peace process in Myanmar. The projects were not however revealed.

China has always said that it supports Myanmar’s peace process amid continued sporadic fighting between ethnic armed groups and the Tatmadaw occurring in Myanmar borders with China.

Through the mediation of Chinese diplomats, three armed ethnic organisations that were previously rejected by government attended the opening ceremony of the 21st century Panglong conference in May as observers.

During Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visit to Myanmar in November, he said the corridor in Myanmar would extend to Yangon and Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone in Rakhine state.

Before the visit of State Counsellor, Commander-in-chief of Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing also visited China in November, where he discussed Myanmar’s position in solving the crisis in Rakhine state and thanked China for its continued support on the Rakhine problem.

The Myanmar government has faced international pressure after reports of human rights allegations emerged during the government security forces’ counter-terrorism operations in response to the August 25 attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which the administration labeled as a terrorist organization.

In March, China and Russia blocked a resolution to discuss the crisis in Rakhine at the UN Security Council.

The Myanmar Times (MYANMAR) December 4, 2017

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