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A delegation of National League for Democracy (NLD) party leaders left for a goodwill trip to China on Tuesday.
Speaking with DVB by phone, NLD Central Executive Committee member Tun Tun Hein said, “As I see it, the Communist Party of China has invited every major stakeholder in Burma to visit China. When China’s foreign affairs chief came to Burma we met with him—and so did everyone else, including the Shan parties and the [military-backed ruling] Union Solidarity and Development Party.”
The 12-member delegation will include the following NLD central executive committee members: Paul Khin; Pike Ko; Myint Oo; Khin Maung Thein; Kyaw Hoe; Myo Nyunt; Win Aung; Tun Shwe; U Ta; Aye Nai; Mong Ye Kyaw Thu; and Kyi Phyu Shin.
The delegation’s trip comes amid news that NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi is planning to visit China in December, although the party has revealed few details about Suu Kyi’s itinerary. Last week, NLD Central Executive Committee member Win Htein told DVB, “Aung San Suu Kyi will travel to China in December, that’s all I can say, so far.”
Three NLD delegations have previously visited China, including a trip led by central executive committee member Nyan Win and two NLD youth-wing delegations. The first time NLD members visited China was in December 2013 when party representatives were invited for a “goodwill” tour of the country, during which they visited several Chinese government organs as well as NGOs.
After a visit meeting in February between NLD representatives and Chinese officials in Burma, NLD member Aye Kyu told DVB that his party actually had good relations with China until the early 1990s, and that China’s ambassador was even the first diplomatic official to meet and congratulate the NLD after winning the 1990 elections.
However, the Chinese government shifted allegiances after the military seized power and soon become Burma’s number one trading partner and the military regime’s closest ally.
During February’s meeting between NLD representatives and Chinese communist party officials, there was no discussion about controversial Chinese projects in Burma such as the Myitsone dam or the Latpadaung copper mine.
Instead, NLD representatives told DVB the meeting focused solely on improving Sino-Burmese relations; increasing engagement between the NLD and China’s communist party; and enhancing ties between citizens of the neighboring countries.