Differences over dam won't harm ties: Myanmar VP

Updated: 2011-10-21 09:03

By Qin Jize (China Daily)

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Differences over dam won't harm ties: Myanmar VP

Premier Wen Jiabao on Thursday shakes hands with Myanmar Vice-President Tin Aung Myint Oo on the sidelines of the 8th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in southern China. About 2,300 enterprises will participate in the six-day expo. [Wu Zhiyi / China Daily] 

NANNING - Myanmar's Vice-President Tin Aung Myint Oo on Thursday tried to ease Beijing's concerns over the halting of a Chinese-invested mega dam, vowing to cooperate with China in seeking for a proper solution to the issue.

He made the pledge while meeting Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the 8th China-ASEAN Expo. Wen pointed out that the implementation of Sino-Myanmar key projects conforms to the interests of both sides.

Wen said the two countries should carry out the consensus reached by their leaders and fulfill the commitment to ensure a healthy and smooth growth of economic ties.

The Myanmar guest reiterated that his country has attached great importance to the comprehensive, strategic and cooperative partnership between the two nations, adding it will maintain close communication with China and seek a proper solution to protect common interests.

The meeting appeared to be another attempt to repair the damage to ties after Myanmar's President Thein Sein announced last month the suspension of the $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam built and financed by a Chinese firm in the northern part of his country, which triggered a public rebuke from China.

Soon after the announcement, he sent Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin as his special envoy to Beijing to explain the shelving of the project.

Analysts noted that bilateral ties will continue to move forward as the suspension of the dam will not change the basic fact that China is currently the largest investor and trading partner of Myanmar and most likely will remain an indispensable player in Myanmar's economic development.

The New Light of Myanmar, a government-owned newspaper, has published four editorials calling for a stronger relationship with Myanmar's northern neighbor.

"The suspension of the Myitsone project is out of the concern of the environment and there are people in the country who want to harness this event to destroy Myanmar-China relations. The untrue coverage in the foreign media is spreading quickly. But undoubtedly, it is of vital importance for Myanmar to maintain a sincere friendship with its neighbor," an editorial published on Wednesday said.

In its Sunday editorial entitled "whoever cannot destroy the Myanmar-China relations", the newspaper compared Myanmar-China relations to that of couples, saying it is inevitable for couples to quarrel.

In addition to Tin Aung Myint Oo, Wen on Thursday also met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad and Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kittirat Naranong, and spoke highly of China's relationships with those ASEAN member countries.

He also urged relevant countries to properly handle the aftermath of the deadly attack on Chinese sailors on the Mekong River, accelerate the investigation and take joint actions to safeguard navigation safety on the river.

The ASEAN leaders are currently in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to attend the opening ceremony of the 8th China-ASEAN Expo, which runs from Friday to Oct 26.

Zheng Yangpeng and Huo Yan contributed to this story.