Suu Kyi meets Xi, looks for close ties with China

BEIJING (TIP): Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met China’s president and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping on Thursday – a move closely watched in India and the US because her National League for Democracy is expected to emerge as a key player in the coming presidential election in Myanmar.

The state media said Xi wants Suu Kyi to take a more active part in Myanmar’s political transition and expressed the hope that she would “play a constructive role in fostering a better understanding of China”.

Suu Kyi, 69, told the Chinese president that her party admires the great achievements in China under the Communist Party, the Chinese media said. She expressed hopes for stronger ties between the parties and peoples of the two countries.

“I hope this visit will help deepen your understanding on China and the CPC, which will contribute to our mutual understanding and trust, and lay a better foundation for the party-to-party and state-to-state relationship,” the state media quoted Xi as telling her.

This is Suu Kyi’s first visit to China since she was released from house arrest in 2010. Western diplomats and media see her five-day China visit as a turning point in her transition from a Nobel Prize winning human rights champion to a politician seeking power in the presidential elections.

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Suu Kyi, wearing a white top and red skirt, said it is vital to be committed towards friendly relationship between the two neighbors.

China and Myanmar have “become a community of common interests and common destiny sharing weal and woe”, Xi told her.

Beijing is disturbed after an aircraft from Myanmar recently lobbed a bomb across the border killing five Chinese citizens. Myanmar has also blocked several Chinese funded projects in recent years. Beijing expects the situation to change after the November elections.

“We hope and believe that the Myanmar side will also maintain a consistent stance on China-Myanmar relationship and be committed to advancing friendly ties, no matter how its domestic situation changes,” the Chinese president said.

China has had close relationship with the country’s military rulers through the long years it suffered from western economic sanctions. But the situation has changed. Western countries now do business with Myanmar on a regular basis.

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