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Xi visit to write a new chapter in China-Myanmar relations: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2020-01-17 21:42
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That President Xi Jinping has chosen Myanmar as the destination of his first state visit in 2020 demonstrates the importance China attaches to the Southeast Asian country, with which it shares a historical and cultural bond. It is this bond President Xi highlighted in a signed article published in Myanmar media outlets on Thursday. And it is this bond he vowed to use to write a new chapter in the paukphaw (fraternal) friendship between the two peoples that dates back to the 4th century BC.

Yet bilateral relations are also about agreements that reflect amicable neighborhood diplomacy and the determination to build a friendly regional environment conducive to mutually beneficial trade and co-development.

In line with this philosophy, the two sides are expected to sign agreements on several projects during Xi's two-day visit to Myanmar, opening up new channels for win-win cooperation and breathing new life into some projects that have come to a halt.

As Myanmar's biggest trading partner and largest source of foreign investment, China has always ensured that bilateral projects facilitate Myanmar's development. In fact, Myanmar's active involvement in Belt and Road projects, including the vital China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, is helping improve its people's livelihoods. In particular, the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines, which run from western Myanmar to Southwest China's Yunnan province, have been generating income and employment for Myanmar people since they started operations in 2017.

The Belt and Road projects, from industrial parks and power plants to transportation facilities and public goods, if successfully completed, will bring tangible benefits to both sides, creating jobs and facilitating growth for Myanmar, and shortening landlocked Yunnan's distance to the sea, thereby diversifying China's energy and trade routes.

The fact that Xi will meet with all the major stakeholders in Myanmar, ranging from Myanmar President U Win Myint to State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to top legislators reflects the mutual political trust China and Myanmar share. Little wonder the two sides have made their bilateral ties a model for other countries to follow.

Given that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence were jointly proposed by China, Myanmar and India in 1954, which has become part of international relations, China-Myanmar ties are expected to chart a new course for mutually beneficial partnerships, helping the two countries build a community with a shared future.

And judging from the warm welcome Xi received in Naypyidaw, capital of Myanmar, on Friday, the paukphaw friendship between the two sides looks set to write a new chapter in bilateral relations.

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