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Burmese President Thein Sein is today in Beijing where he is attending a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in China.
State media in Burma reported that the president, accompanied by several cabinet members, arrived on Tuesday in Beijing where he attended an informal dinner that evening hosted by Chinese President Xi Jingping and his wife.
Commemorations in China – named the 70th Anniversary of the Victory of Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War – are scheduled to open on Thursday, 3 September, when guests will include Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The highlight of the event is a military parade featuring more than 10,000 Chinese soldiers and nearly 1,000 soldiers from 17 other countries. It will also showcase China’s latest military equipment, including jet fighters.
Before flying to Beijing, the Burmese president urged all political parties to respect religious diversity and act responsibly during the campaign period for the 8 November general election.
Speaking in his monthly address to the nation, Thein Sein said, “The upcoming 2015 general elections are a crucial step forward for our country’s democratic reforms. Therefore, it is imperative that the elections are free and fair.
“ … I would like to say a few words about the role of political parties and candidates competing in the 2015 general elections. In a few days, campaigning will begin for the political parties and I understand that each party will campaign to the best of its abilities to succeed in the elections. We welcome any campaign that adheres to democratic principles and complies with the rules, regulations and codes of conduct set forth by the Union Election Commission.
“However, our country is a multi-ethnic society with many traditions, customs and religious beliefs. Because of this, the political parties, when campaigning, must take great care to not cause damage to social harmony or harm our diverse religious beliefs. I also urge all political parties to act responsibly and avoid incitements that could harm national reconciliation and national unity. Instead of blaming each other or acting in a manner that could harm national reconciliation, I urge all political parties to campaign on their respective platforms based on how they envision bringing about the aspirations, objectives and plans for a new Myanmar desired by their constituents. In particular and despite our differences, the political forces should strive to sustain our new political culture of dialogue.”
Read more: DVB’s 2015 election coverage