Chinese president pledges to support pending Myanmar peace process

Breaking News August 20, 2016 16:38

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Beijing - Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to support Myanmar's pending peace talks in a meeting with de facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Beijing, state media reported Saturday.

"China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting Myanmar's peace process and make joint efforts with Myanmar to safeguard peace and stability along the border between the two nations," Xi was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

Suu Kyi, in Beijing on a high-profile visit, told reporters that she believed China would do everything possible to promote the August 31 peace and national reconciliation talks between the government, the military and ethnic armed groups. Some groups are ethnically Chinese, with alleged ties or backing from China.

Analysts said Suu Kyi's second trip outside of Myanmar since the activist-turned-politician's National League for Democracy (NLD) party came to power this year will test her diplomatic skills.

"The stakes are very high," wrote analyst Yun Sun in a commentary for the Washington-based Transnational Institute.

Yun Sun noted that a Chinese government representative participated in the 2015 peace talks, when the Myanmar government negotiating team complained that Chinese interference prevented some armed groups from signing a ceasefire agreement - a charge that Beijing denies.

Xi made no mention of the stalled 3.6 billion dollar Myitsone hydro-power dam project that has dominated Chinese state media propaganda during Suu Kyi's visit. Former Myanmar president TheinSein angered China in 2011 by suspending work on the dam after widespread protests.

Since Suu Kyi took office in April, Chinese officials have been pushing for work to restart on the dam. Suu Kyi said Friday that she would await the findings of a commission that are due in November.

Locals had vigorously protested against the construction of the deep water seaport, as they were worried it would badly affect the marine ecosystem and destroy the small- scale local fishing industry.

They were also concerned it would bring industrial development to the province and cause environmental problems for local communities.


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