Myan­mar’s Aung San Suu Kyi ar­rives in China for first visit

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY TOM HAN­COCK

Myan­mar op­po­si­tion leader Aung San Suu Kyi ar­rived in China Wed­nes­day for a de­but visit that will cast an in­trigu­ing light on Bei­jing’s at­ti­tude to­wards the democ­racy cham­pion and No­bel lau­re­ate as she bids to take power.

Suu Kyi emerged from Bei­jing’s main in­ter­na­tional air­port exit wear­ing a white top and pink sash and sur­rounded by po­lice and se­cu­rity, be­fore get­ting into a black sedan, ac­cord­ing to an AFP re­porter on the scene.

Bei­jing was a key backer of Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary junta while it was un­der West­ern sanc­tions — most of which have been lifted since 2011 — a much needed in­ter­na­tional ally for a bru­tal regime that crushed dis­sent and kept Suu Kyi un­der house ar­rest for more than 15 years.

Now the 69-year-old is vis­it­ing China both as a free woman and a politi­cian ahead of crunch elec­tions slated for Novem­ber at which her Na­tional League for Democ­racy party (NLD) are ex­pected to make sig­nif­i­cant gains, if the vote is free and fair.

Ni­cholas Far­relly, a Myan­mar spe­cial­ist at the Aus­tralian Na­tional Uni­ver­sity, said the for­mer po­lit­i­cal prisoner will not al­low China’s his­tor­i­cal sup­port for a junta that im­pris­oned her to cloud her judg­ment.

“Aung San Suu Kyi is get­ting on with the busi­ness of try­ing to win an elec­tion. She will be ut­terly prag­matic about what is at stake and can­not af­ford to in­dulge un- due sen­ti­ment,” he told AFP.

“She knows that China will play a mighty role in Myan­mar’s fu­ture.”

High-level Meet­ings

Suu Kyi is vis­it­ing Myan­mar’s gi­ant north­ern neigh­bor along­side a del­e­ga­tion of NLD mem­bers fol- low­ing an in­vi­ta­tion from China’s Com­mu­nist Party.

The NLD has said she is ex­pected to meet Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping and Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang, but no de­tailed itin­er­ary has yet been re­leased by the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties.

AP

Myan­mar’s op­po­si­tion leader Aung San Suu Kyi, fourth left, ar­rives at Bei­jing Cap­i­tal In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Bei­jing, Wed­nes­day, June 10.

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