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China and Burma have good relations: Suu Kyi

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Tuesday she would travel to Asian countries if invited, following her return from a five-country tour of Europe last week.

Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to the media during a press conference at the National League for Democracy Party headquarters in Rangoon on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, following the decision to postpone her debut in the country's Parliament this week to give herself time to recover from a gruelling European tour. Photo: AFPIn a press conference following her tour, she said China-Burma relations are good, and she hoped they would get even better.

Suu Kyi, the chairman of the National League for Democracy, said over the past decades since Burma gained independence under a parliamentary government relations have been good, and Burma was one of the earliest countries that recognized the government of the People's Republic of China.

Different political systems in the two countries should not affect the countries' relations, she said.

Recognizing that China is the No. 1 foreign investor in Burma, she said there is a need for transparency and accountability so that the Burmese people will benefit from investments and contracts with foreign companies or states can be protected.

Suu Kyi returned to Rangoon on Saturday from a historic tour of Switzerland, Norway, Britain, Ireland and France, where she sought political and economic support to further the democratic transition in Burma and economic development.

China has invested nearly US$ 14 billion in Burma, equal to 35 per cent of Burma's total foreign investments, according to government statistics.

China's latest investment was in November 2011, with  $4 billion in the power energy sector. Most of the $14 billion was invested in sectors involving hydropower energy, oil and gas, and mining.

China is building a 771-kilometre pipeline that will transport oil and natural gas from Kyaukphyu, Burma, to Yunnan Province in China that is expected to be completed in 2013.

Foreign investments in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states mostly come from China.

In a 2008 report on China’s investments in Burma, Earthrights International (ERI) identified at least 69 Chinese multinational corporations (MNCs) involved in at least 90 hydropower, oil and natural gas, and mining projects in Burma.

The report noted that very little information is disclosed to the Burmese public or the communities’ affected by the investments projects.

While China has embraced a foreign policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, “the line between business and politics in a country like Burma is blurred at best,” the reported said.

In pursuit of Burma’s natural resources, China has provided Burma with political support, military armaments, and financial support in the form of condition-free loans.

Recently, western countries have lifted or suspended sanctions against Burma, opening the way for even more investments in Burma’s rich natural resources and other areas.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 July 2012 13:31 )  

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