China appoints special envoy for Asian affairs



Beijing: Wary of being sidetracked in its backyard, China has appointed its first special envoy for 'Asian affairs', who will mainly focus on relations with Myanmar, a close strategic ally which has opened up in a big way to India and the West in recent years.

"The government recently appointed Wang Yingfan, a former vice foreign minister, as the Foreign Ministry's first special representative on Asian affairs," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

Wang will be largely responsible for handling issues between China and Myanmar, Hua said. China has few special diplomats focused on key countries and areas.

Wang's appointment to deal with resource-rich Myanmar shows how China is concerned about the fast changing internal scenario in Myanmar adversely impacting Beijing's big-ticket investments.

A close ally of China under the military junta, Myanmar has adopted a more liberal policy both on domestic and foreign fronts. While pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from long years of detention, Myanmar has opened up to US, India and other western countries scouting for new investments as well as lifting of sanctions.

PTI