Friday, 13 December 2019

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China-Burma discuss bilateral issues, cooperation

(Mizzima) – While speaking in the language of diplomacy, it was clear that Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann’s visit to China included talks on two sensitive issues: the unsettled Sino-Burma border area and the suspension of the Chinese-funded Myitsone Dam project.

Shwe Mann, a former general, is on a five-day official visit to China, where he met with China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin on Thursday.

Xinhua news agency said Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said complicated changes in the global situation have brought opportunities and challenges for both countries and they would work to deepen their relations. He appeared to be referring to the recent moves by the U.S. and other western nations to establish closer ties with Burma.

“China hopes to work closely with Myanmar to boost bilateral cooperation and properly settle problems,” he said, adding that peace and stability in border areas is in the common interest of both countries.

Since mid-summer, China has received waves of Burmese refugees who are fleeing fighting between the government and ethnic forces. Some humanitarian groups say up to 30,000 refugees have sought shelter in China’s border area; Chinese officials have denied that there are massive numbers of refugees. The controversial US$ 3.6 Myitsone Dam project was suspended in September 2011after environmentalists and opposition groups waged a sustained campaign saying it lacked proper transparency and would mainly benefit China, who would receive the bulk of its electricity.

Jia urged both sides to draw up a plan for comprehensive and strategic cooperation at an early date, according to the Xinhua article.

“The CPPCC is willing to further cement contact and personnel exchanges with Myanmar’s House of Representatives and House of Nationalities, as well as share experience in participating in state affairs,” Jia was quoted as saying. China has been a source of parliamentary consultation for Burma, and has sent delegations to advise Burmese lawmakers.

China sincerely hopes Myanmar will properly solve reconciliation issues in border areas in order to maintain stability there, Jia said.

Thura U Shwe Mann said Burma will stick to its one-China policy and strong bilateral ties are a cornerstone of Burma’s development.

Later on Thursday, Shwe Mann met with Chen Bingde, chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army and a member of the Central Military Commission. Shwe Mann arrived Beijing on Wednesday. 

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