Friday, 13 December 2019

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Chinese Vice-President to visit Burma

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping will pay an official visit to military-ruled Burma during his tour of four Asian countries starting Monday, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Jiang Yu, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday said, Xi Jinping, at the invitation of the Governments of Japan, Republic of Korea, Cambodia and Vice-Chairman of Burma’s State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, will pay visits to the four countries from December 14 to 22.

The Foreign Ministry said, Japan will be the first in the itinerary among the four countries, and Xi is visiting Burma at the invitation of Maung Aye, which he extended during his visit to China in June.

While details of Xi’s visit to Burma is still unknown, Aung Kyaw Zaw, a Sino-Burma based analyst said the Burmese junta is likely to brief the visiting Chinese leader of its planned election in 2010 and other political issues beside discussing bilateral economic corporation.

“Though they [Burmese generals] have finished their quarterly meeting, the electoral law is yet to be announced. They still refuse to release Aung San Suu Kyi. These issues are likely to be discussed,” Aung Kyaw Zaw told Mizzima on Friday.

But he said China is unlikely to pressurize the Burmese junta for a change or to release detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“They [China] will do whatever is beneficial to them,” he added.

During Maung Aye’s visit to China in June, Xi assured that China will continue to support Burma at the international forum and will support the efforts of the Burmese military government and its people for ensuring peace and stability, economic growth and national unity.

China along with Russia had vetoed the UN Security Council resolution on Burma proposed by the United States and backed by Western countries, in January 2007.

The Burmese Foreign Ministry in June issued a statement stating that China had expressed appreciation of the Burmese regime for implementing a seven-step roadmap to the so-called ‘disciplined democracy’, which, however, is widely criticised by critics saying it is designed to entrench and legitimize military rule in the country.

The Burmese junta announced holding a general election in 2010, based on the 2008 constitution, which was approved by a referendum held just days after the deadly Cyclone Nargis devastated the country’s former capital and the Irrawaddy delta on May 2 and 3, 2008.

The statement also included Xi’s assurance to Maung Aye of China’s willingness to maintain peace and stability along the Sino-Burma border by adopting a policy of non-interference towards Burma.

“I think they will also talk about issues of ethnic groups along the Sino-Burma border, which has recently become one of the main concerns for China,” Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

He said the situation along the Sino-Burma border is still unstable following the clash between the ethnic Kokang Army also known as Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Burmese junta’s troops in Northern Shan state in September. The clash forced over 30,000 people to flee to the Chinese side of the border.

“The already tense situation is getting worse after the UWSA (United Wa State Army) rejected the junta’s proposal to transform cease-fire groups into Border Guard Forces,” he added.

Aung Kyaw Zaw said Brigadier General Phone Swe, the Burmese Deputy Home Minister, had recently paid a visit to Beijing for five days after secretly crossing the Sino-Burma border.

The junta’s mouthpiece newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, on Friday said a delegation led by Lt-Gen Ai Husheng, Chengdu Military Region of the People's Liberation Army of China is visiting Burma since December 5.

The PLA delegation also met Lt-Gen Min Aung Hlaing from Burma’s Ministry of Defence in Naypyitaw on Monday.


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