Pessimism about China-Myanmar ties unfounded

Updated: 2014-11-14 16:32


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BEIJING - China and Myanmar are set to give a fresh push to their robust ties, with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang paying an official visit to the neighboring country on Friday.

Li's trip, his first as premier to the Southeast Asian nation, came on the heels of Myanmar President U Thein Sein's visit last week to Beijing, where he attended a partners' dialogue on strengthening regional connectivity and met with both Chinese President Xi Jinping and Li.

The intensive exchange of visits symbolizes the close affinity between the two countries, which share a profound traditional friendship that has withstood the vicissitudes of the international situation.

And with the Chinese premier's visit, the two neighbors are ushering their relationship into a new phase of strategic cooperation, which will give the lie to all the pessimistic speculations about China-Myanmar interaction.

With border tranquility restored in recent years, the two neighboring countries are enthusiastic about pushing ahead with mutually beneficial projects in, among other areas, oil and gas pipelines, infrastructure and agriculture.

The two countries' economies are highly complementary. China is already Myanmar's largest trading partner and biggest foreign investor. The two sides will continue to benefit from their blossoming trade and investment initiatives.

The Myanmar leadership has made it no secret that China is a foreign policy priority. U Thein Sein has visited China more often than any other foreign country since he became president in March 2011.

The fact that Myanmar invited Li for an official visit despite its tight schedule as the host of a series of regional meetings serves as a clear testimony to the high importance it attaches to bilateral relations.

Committed to win-win cooperation with neighboring nations, China has recently unveiled an ambitious plan to inject vigor into Asian development by focusing on infrastructure, free trade and connectivity. Myanmar is a natural partner and has much to harvest from this regional joint venture.

China's neighborhood diplomacy is fundamentally an effort to share growth opportunities with cooperation partners. The win-win nature of its engagement with neighboring countries offers a bright future for China-Myanmar ties.

The current priority should be to further deepen mutually beneficial practical cooperation in such areas as connectivity, agriculture, power and finance and expand friendly people-to-people exchanges.

The two neighbors have so much common ground to share and so many common interests to pursue that there are just no grounds for gloom-mongering.