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Diplomat calls visit a 'milestone' as nations boost ties

By CAO DESHENG | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-01-17 10:06
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President Xi Jinping's historic state visit to Myanmar will strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, reinforce their traditional pauk-phaw friendship and elevate bilateral ties to a new high, a senior Myanmar diplomat said.

Xi's visit will further enhance the countries' all-around cooperation in multifaceted sectors and help generate more fruitful outcomes, including projects under the framework of the China-Myanmar economic corridor, Myanmar Ambassador to China Myo Thant Pe told China Daily.

Calling the visit a "milestone" for Myanmar and China in the modern history of their relations, the ambassador said the two countries will sign a series of agreements and memorandums of understanding during Xi's visit to cement bilateral ties.

Myo Thant Pe underlined the importance of high-level meetings and visits between the two countries, saying they are the "significant hallmark" of the bilateral relations and will help to further cement the countries' friendship and advance their regional and international cooperation.

Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has visited China five times, and has met with Xi six times in bilateral and regional meetings, according to the ambassador. "These visits and meetings always reflect on the closeness of the Myanmar-China relationship and the maintaining of the traditional friendship between the two countries," he said.

Myo Thant Pe praised the Belt and Road Initiative, saying his country remains committed to working with China on the BRI to realize the goal of common development in areas of mutual interest.

To embrace the initiative, Myanmar has established the Belt and Road Steering Committee, which is chaired by Aung San Suu Kyi. The two countries' agreement on the joint building of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, and the economic cooperation zone at certain border posts to facilitate trade and investment, are part of the progress in BRI cooperation, according to the ambassador.

He highlighted the early harvests of the economic corridor, citing projects that mainly focus on the electricity, infrastructure, agriculture, border trade and manufacturing sectors, which are the priorities of the Myanmar government.

"The economic corridor between the two countries is important for not only bilateral cooperation but also for Belt and Road cooperation in the regional context in line with the principles of mutual consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits," the ambassador said.

The next step will be to identify specific areas of cooperation and the route and mode that accord with Myanmar's long-term development master plans and strategies, which are based on the country's priority needs and will also bring benefits and win-win results to both countries, he added.

Myo Thant Pe said the friendship between Myanmar and China has been nurtured by their shared cultural and civilization links, while people-to-people contacts have been the foundation of the close ties for hundreds of years.

"Given our cultural similarities, traditional affinities and long-lasting relationship between Myanmar and China, I am confident that we will be able to enhance people-to-people contacts, which will subsequently bring not only people but also businesses together for mutual benefit," he said, calling for increased tourism cooperation and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

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