Wen urges dialogue on Myanmar

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-11-20 07:44

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) shakes hands with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein in Singapore November 19, 2007. [Xinhua]

SINGAPORE: China is deeply concerned over the Myanmar situation and hopes related parties strengthen dialogue to promote national reconciliation, Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday in a meeting with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein.

The two leaders are in the city state to attend the annual summits of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia that take place today and tomorrow.

"China maintains that the future of Myanmar should be determined by its people, and the international community should provide constructive assistance to the country," Wen said.

China will continue to support the mediation efforts by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his special advisor Ibrahim Gambari, he added.

"We are willing to go along with the international community to continue to play a positive role in properly resolving the Myanmar issue."

Thein Sein assured Wen that the situation in his country was becoming stable.

He expressed gratitude for China's responsible and positive role in the resolution of the Myanmar issue, and said his government would continue to maintain contact and actively cooperate with the UN secretary-general and his special advisor in mediation efforts.

Last Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yi, as a special envoy of the Chinese government, wound up a three-day visit to Myanmar during which he met Myanmar's top leader, Senior-General Than Shwe.

The Myanmar side briefed the special envoy on the domestic situation and reaffirmed that they would take positive and pragmatic measures to accelerate the democratic process.

At the same time, they assured the Chinese envoy that they would continue to make every effort for the maintenance of stability, economic development, advancement of democracy and the improvement of people's livelihood.

It is believed that ASEAN leaders will discuss the Myanmar issue as they meet for the annual summits today, although the issue was not on the agenda of the high-level meetings. Myanmar is a member of the regional organization.

Some ASEAN members have rejected calls to slap sanctions on Myanmar despite mounting pressure from Western nations.

"Economic sanctions are not good (they) will lead to disaster for the civilian population. They are counter-productive," Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told a business forum on Sunday.

ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong also rejected a US Senate resolution calling for Myanmar to be suspended from the group, saying the region would make its own decisions and that confrontation was not the answer.

Wen Monday also met Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Hun Sen.

Xinhua contributed to the story

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