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Burmese president leaves for China visit

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese President Thein Sein on Thursday began his first official state visit to China, his first bilateral trip to a foreign nation since his inauguration on March 20.

Burmese President Thein Sein at a recent conference in Rangoon. Photo: MizzimaChinese officials said Thein Sein, who is accompanied by about a dozen government ministers and military leaders, will meet with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the two sides would sign an ‘economic and technological cooperation agreement’ during the three-day state visit.

‘We hope this visit will give a boost to China-Myanmar [Burma] good neighbourly friendship and cooperation, advance the bilateral relationship and advance practical cooperation across the board,’ AFP reported.

Thein Sein is visiting Burma’s northernly economic giant in order to boost economic and commercial ties between the two nations. China is a major ally to the Burmese government and is currently the largest foreign investor in the country.

According to the China-based Xinhua news agency, China’s ambassador to Burma, Li Junhua, said that Thein Sein’s new government was ready to forge diplomacy and increase engagement with the outside world,

‘We have seen a new moves economically, that [is] inducing more foreign investment, expanding foreign trade and strengthening private enterprises', she told the paper.

According to Chinese official figures, China-Burma bilateral trade hit US$ 4.44 billion in 2010, Xinhua reported.

Thein Sein attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Jakarta earlier this month, where he lobbied for Burma to chair the bloc in 2014. The government’s attempt at forging new relations with neighbouring nations by vying for the chair came under scrutiny from various NGOs and civil society groups. They said the appointment would lack credibility and weaken Asean’s international image of regional leadership, due to Burma’s continuing violation of human rights and political repression.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 May 2011 18:38 )  

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