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Burma’s President Thein Sein received a guard of honour when he arrived in Beijing in Friday ahead of trilateral talks with China and India.
Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted Thein Sein for cordial talks after the latter’s arrival in the Chinese capital on Friday. According to Chinese media, Xi hailed Sino-Burmese cooperation as “reciprocal and win-win”, and said his government encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Burma, officially known as Myanmar.
China’s president said he “expects the two sides to create a favorable environment for the smooth operation of large-scale projects involving energy, mining, gas pipelines and hydro-electricity, as well as agricultural projects,” state agency Xinhua reported.
“Xi said China welcomes Myanmar’s participation in the construction of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road and the development of an economic corridor between Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar,” the report said.
The so-called Maritime Silk Road is expected to be high on the agenda this weekend as China and India see Burma as a geopolitical thoroughfare for trade and commerce.
After the talks, the two presidents reportedly witnessed the signing of several deals, involving culture, education and medical care.
Burmese state media reported that the Chinese-backed Kyaukphyu special economic zone in Arakan State was also discussed, as well as a feasibility study for Yangon [Rangoon] General Hospital, and Chinese technical assistance for a communications network to be installed at Yadanabon Cyber City, east of Mandalay.
On Saturday and Sunday, Thein Sein is scheduled to attend a ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Announcement of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, a mutual non-aggression, non-interference pact that was signed between Burma, China and India in 1954.
The leaders are undoubtedly looking to take advantage of blooming economic conditions, following some decades of icy relations. China long supported Communist insurgents in Burma, while India and China went to war in 1962.
Thein Sein has previously visited China for a number of times. He paid a state visit in May 2011 and he attended the 9th China- ASEAN Expo in Nanning in 2012. The Burmese president paid two state visits to China in 2013, including another appearance at the China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning last September.
The Chinese embassy in Rangoon confirmed that Thein Sein is also scheduled to meet with China’s Premier Li Keqiang, and will pay a visit to the ancient capital of Luoyang in central China’s Henan Province.
“The attendance by H.E. President U Thein Sein and the leader of India to the commemorative activities in Beijing reflects the three countries’ determination to promote world peace and development,” the embassy said in a statement to DVB on Friday.
“China expects this visit to further consolidate bilateral good-neighbor relations, enhance strategic trust, boost pragmatic cooperation and develop the bilateral all-round strategic partnership,” an embassy spokesperson said. “China firmly pursues a friendly policy toward Myanmar and would like to work with Myanmar to deepen cooperation, benefit the two peoples and promote regional peace, stability and development.”