Democracy won’t change China friendship: Myanmar
Chinese officials and media have expressed concern Washington’s renewed interest in slowly democratising Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, could be part of US designs to dilute China’s influence there and encircle China with pro-US states.
Fears about China’s influence in Myanmar have been bolstered not only by Washington’s engagement with the country but also the US military’s strategic “pivot” back to Asia. But during a meeting on the sidelines of a trade fair in southern China, Thein Sein said Beijing should not worry.
“Myanmar is at present in a transitional phase, but Myanmar pays great attention to developing relations with China, and its policy of seeing China has a true friend has not changed,” China’s foreign ministry cited Thein Sein as telling Xi. “China has for a long time provided a large amount of sincere support and help, and stood at Myanmar’s side at the most difficult of times. Myanmar’s people will never forget this,” Thein Sein added, in the statement released late Friday.
It is Thein Sein’s second trip to China since he took office in March 2011. He goes to the United States after completing this trip. China has long worried about its ties with Myanmar, with a history of resentment of China among the Burmese population and fierce public opposition to a $3.6 billion Chinese-built dam at Myitsone that prompted Thein Sein to shelve the project last year, a move that stunned Beijing.—Reuters