China vows to firm up ties with Myanmar
Beijing: Watching warily its long term strategic ally Myanmar's steady transformation from military dictatorship to democracy, China has vowed to strengthen its ties with the country to retain a close relationship.
A visiting delegation of Myanmar's military backed ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), whose leader and the country's President Thein Sein surprised the world by opening up his military dominated country to democracy last year, today called on Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.
"China has always handled its relations with Myanmar from a strategic perspective," Xi, widely regarded as the successor to President Hu Jintao in this year's leadership change, told the USDP delegation headed by party's General Secretary U Htay Oo, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
This is Myanmar's first high-level political delegation to visit China after it released pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from 15 years of house arrest and the success of her party National League for Democracy (NLD), which won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house of the Parliament.
Xi said China is ready to work closely with Myanmar to fulfil the goals set in the joint statement issued during Sein's China visit here last year.
He said cementing political trust and win-win cooperation between both sides is not only in the fundamental interests of both countries, but will also contribute to development and stability in the region.
Xi urged the ruling parties of both countries to make joint efforts for the greater development of bilateral ties in the coming years.
U Htay Oo expressed appreciation for China's support for Myanmar's development over the years.
He said Myanmar will maintain friendly policies toward China, adding that USDP hopes to enhance exchanges and cooperation with the Communist Party of China.
As many leaders from US and other western countries visited Myanmar, the first time in decades, especially to meet Suu Kyi, there was concern over the prospects of its closest strategic ally moving towards west.
China which is the biggest investor in Myanmar, especially in the infrastructure projects, was also concerned over Myanmar government halting the construction of USD 3.6 billion hydro-power station on the Irrawaddy river following concerns over its environmental impact.