China and Myanmar vowed on Aug 18 to further enhance political trust with mutual respect, to advance major investment projects and to realize peaceful settlement of hostilities in northern Myanmar.
Premier Li Keqiang hosted a ceremony on Aug 18 to welcome Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s No 2 leader, who started a five-day official visit to China on Aug 17.
“China is the first country you’ve visited outside the Association of Southeast Asia Nations after taking office as state counselor, showing the importance the government of Myanmar and you yourself have attached to the bilateral relations,” said Premier Li.
The Premier said China and Myanmar are closely connected by extensive mountains and rivers, and the two peoples call each other baobo (brothers and relatives).
Premier Li said that bilateral cooperation should focus on the benefit of both peoples and achievement of win-win outcomes.
China is willing to link its strategies with Myanmar’s, to cooperate in key areas and to advance major projects such as the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline project and Myitsone Dam, he said. The dam, a joint project to build a large hydropower station, began construction in 2009 but was halted by Myanmar over environmental concerns in 2011.
Premier Li said he hoped that Myanmar can resolve the issue of the dam, and Suu Kyi said Myanmar will set up an investigative commission to find a solution, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin.
Suu Kyi said Myanmar’s new administration highly values its ties with China and is committed to strengthening relations. Myanmar will continue high-level exchanges with its neighbor, enhance political trust, boost cooperation in such fields as cross-border trade and agriculture, and maintain stability in border areas, she added.
China supports Myanmar in choosing a path suitable for its own national condition and backs its efforts to develop its economy and improve people’s livelihoods, Premier Li said.
Premier Li also said China respects Myanmar’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and will continue to play a constructive role in promoting peaceful settlement of hostilities between armed ethnic groups and the national government in northern Myanmar.
Deputy Minister Liu said that China and Myanmar agreed to promote the peaceful settlement by strengthening communication and exchanges.
After the meeting, two agreements were signed on economic and technological cooperation between the two countries.
Suu Kyi is to visit Shaanxi and Yunnan provinces after her trip to Beijing, and she has invited Premier Li to visit Myanmar, Liu said.
China is Myanmar’s biggest source of investment, and both countries have historically forged a deep-rooted friendship, said Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies.
China is willing to see a peaceful and stable Myanmar and will take a responsible and constructive role in helping to achieve that goal, Ruan said.
“Myanmar has started to open up to the outside world,” Ruan said.
“China should get used to new changes and work with the neighbor to achieve pragmatic and win-win cooperation.”