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Japan sets out aid plan for Myanmar

By Agencies in Tokyo And Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-04 08:17

Japan will provide aid worth 800 billion yen ($7.8 billion) to Myanmar over five years to support its peace-building and development efforts, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday.

About 40 billion yen of the aid planned by the government and private sector will be directed toward supporting ethnic minorities in the South East Asian nation.

"We hope this aid will help spread the fruit of peace building to various regions in Myanmar, and drive it forward," Abe told a news conference in Tokyo with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The rest of the aid would be spent on areas such as airports and electricity projects, Japanese officials said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that China hoped relevant countries could develop diplomatic relations with other countries in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and broad-mindedness.

Japanese officials said Japan's offers of assistance to Myanmar reflects its rivalry with China for economic and political influence among Southeast Asian nations, the Kyodo News Agency reported.

"China never directs its normal diplomatic relations with other countries against any third party," Hua told a regular news conference.

She also said, as a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, China supports it in conducting normal exchanges and cooperation with countries around the world.

"We hope that the international community could do more practical things and offer more sincere help for Myanmar to realize long-term stability and development," she added.

Suu Kyi is visiting Japan to court investment and aid after six months in power.

Myanmar needs Japanese investment and robust bilateral ties and, in turn, Japan is eager for opportunities to help Myanmar meet its extensive infrastructure and development needs.

Nearly 50 years of economic mismanagement have left Myanmar's roads, airports and electricity supply in disarray.

There is little homegrown industry and recent annual economic growth of 8 percent has been mostly underpinned by imports.

In September, US President Barack Obama announced he would scrap most economic sanctions. Two weeks ago, Suu Kyi promised foreign investors a clearer legal framework and opportunities in untapped sectors.

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