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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/26/13

Is china worried with Burma's look west policy?

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Burma's President Thein Sein received a delegation led by General Fan Changlong, the Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Liberation Army of China, at Credentials Hall of the Presidential Palace in Nay-Pyi-Taw on Tuesday, the state-run New Light of Myanmar said today.

According to the newspaper, Burmese President and the Chinese General discussed issues on peace development and stability in border areas including the topic of reaching perpetual peace with armed groups during the meeting,.

Besides, the two leaders also discussed to work together furthermore between the two governments and two armed forces of Myanmar (Burma) and China as well. They agreed that friendly relations between Burma and all eastern and western countries have taken place since President Thein Sein government has taken office.  As said by the state media, Burmese President and the Chinese General also agreed to carry out strategically on comprehensive mutual partnership between the two countries as a second step.

Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People's Liberation Army of China General Fan Changlong was also welcomed by the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at Zeyathiri Beikman in Nay-Pyi-Taw on the same day, the state media reported.  At the welcoming ceremony, General Fan Changlong was cordially welcomed by the Senior General as both went to the podium and took the salute of the Guard of Honor.

According to the newspaper, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said that Myanmar (Burma) will keep on maintaining strategic partnership with China. Both generals agreed to cooperate intimately between the two governments and the two armed forces on regional security issues in order to promote peace and stability in border region. Burma Army will have to put into practice establishing good relations with armed forces of other countries, Senior General highlighted. He also called for further cooperation to guarantee supportive and competent administrative system along with peace and stability in border regions. He also ensured increasing joint-efforts in eradication against narcotic drugs.

He further stressed not to allow any non-state armed groups in border regions between the two countries as a primary responsibility.

As the government in cooperation with the armed forces has determined to bring lasting peace, eleven out of twelve ethnic armed groups have been reached ceasefire agreements, he added. Laws and rights for ethnic people of states and regions were enshrined in the 2008 Constitution and negotiation will be taken place in the hunt for peace, he added.

General Fan Changlong promised to strengthen strategic partnership of the two nations, and to cooperate with Myanmar/Burma for stability, security and eradication of narcotic drugs in the border region.

In last week of June, President Thein Sein also received a Chinese delegation led by Member of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Mr. Yang Jiechi at the Credentials Hall of the Presidential Palace in Nay-Pyi-Taw. Yang arrived in Nay-Pyi-Taw, the country's new capital, for a two-day visit at the invitation of the Burmese government.

According to the Chinese State Councilor, the two countries are traditionally friendly neighbors and Sino-Burma relations and bilateral cooperation were underway. He acknowledged great steps made by consecutive leaders cementing bilateral relations and mutual friendship. Yang Jiechi highlighted the President's efforts for steps forward in bilateral friendship and cooperation in culture.

China dominates the construction sector in Burma, including numerous hydropower projects and a deep-water sea port project in Kyauk-phru in Rakhine State. The most important Chinese project is a gas and oil pipeline across Burma from Kyaukphru to Ruili, on the China border. The 771-kilometer-long pipeline will provide a shortcut to carry crude oil from Africa and the Middle East into China instead of the sea route via Malacca Strait. The natural gas will come from fields off Burma's west coast.

Afterward, the 771-kilometer-long Chinese pipeline project has been criticized by local inhabitants with reference to unfair land grabbing, controversial compensation and environmental disaster. Chinese companies should abide by the international norms doing development projects with respect to the voice of the people who live in the province.

Burma watchers believe the frequent visits of  Chinese high-level delegations indicate about China's serious concerns due to Burma's look west foreign policy towards the US and EU countries.  President Thein Sein government has suspended a controversial $3.6 billion Myitsone dam hydroelectric power project in September 2011 since the Chinese-financed project has faced objections from various social strata nationwide, according to the media reports.

According to analysts, criticism of the Chinese development projects has been getting higher in Burma as pro-democracy and environmental activists have started using their citizens' rights under the new government, which is calling itself a reformist and working to become a democratic administration.

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Zin Linn was born on February 9, 1946 in a small town in Mandalay Division. He began writing poems in 1960 and received a B.A (Philosophy) in 1976. He became an activist in the High School Union after the students' massacre on 7th July 1962. (more...)

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