Suu Kyi’s visit seen as bid to boost friend­ship

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Bei­jing zhangyunbi@chi­

Myan­mar State Coun­selor Aung San Suu Kyi ar­rived in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day night to kick off her first China visit as her coun­try’s No 2 po­lit­i­cal fig­ure.

Dur­ing Suu Kyi’s five-day visit, Premier Li Ke­qiang will host a wel­com­ing cer­e­mony and hold talks with Suu Kyi. She also will visit other cities.

A cer­e­mony will be held for the sign­ing of bi­lat­eral doc­u­ments, ac­cord­ing to the For­eign Min­istry, al­though de­tails of the pacts were not dis­closed.

Cur­rently, China is Myan­mar’s most im­por­tant trade part­ner and one of the main sources of for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment.

Xu Lip­ing, a se­nior re­searcher on South­east Asian stud­ies at the Chi­nese Acad­emy of So­cial Sci­ences, said Suu Kyi’s visit sig­nals the po­lit­i­cal will to ce­ment the two coun­tries’ tra­di­tional friend­ship.

“Now Myan­mar is faced with many is­sues, such as the do­mes­tic rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process, and re­solv­ing them can­not be achieved with­out co­op­er­a­tion with China,” Xu said.

Xu added that Myan­mar “needs more in­vest­ment from China” in light of China’s role as one of its big­gest in­vestors.

Bei­jing has sent key diplo­mats to main­tain close con­tact with Suu Kyi in re­cent months, in­clud­ing For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi and Song Tao, head of the In­ter­na­tional Depart­ment of the Com­mu­nist Party of China’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee.

Song vis­ited Myan­mar ear­lier this month and met with Suu Kyi on Aug 11 in Myan­mar’s cap­i­tal, Nay Pyi Taw.

Suu Kyi told Song that Myan­mar at­taches great im­por­tance to de­vel­op­ing China-Myan­mar ties, and she ex­pects her China visit could fur­ther pro­mote bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion.

Zhou Yong­sheng, a pro­fes­sor of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions at China For­eign Af­fairs Univer­sity, said China and Myan­mar now need talks to min­i­mize their dif­fer­ences and ex­pand com­mon ground.

“They par­tic­u­larly should pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in con­nec­tiv­ity and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, which are ben­e­fi­cial to the econ­omy of both sides,” Zhou said.

In June last year, Suu Kyi was in­vited to visit China for her first time as chair of the Na­tional League for Democ­racy.

Her party scored a land­slide elec­tion vic­tory ear­lier this year, and her new gov­ern­ment was formed in March. Since then, she has vis­ited Laos and Thailand. The China visit marks her first as state coun­selor out­side South­east Asia.

Aung San Suu Kyi

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