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Xi's visit a milestone in Myanmar-China relations: Myanmar Ambassador to China

Zhang Zhiwen    People's Daily   09:14, January 19, 2020

Myanmar Ambassador to China U Myo Thant Pe receives an interview from People's Daily

Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Myanmar will become a milestone in the history of Myanmar-China diplomatic relations, said Myanmar Ambassador to China U Myo Thant Pe during a recent interview with People's Daily.

The visit not only marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, but also demonstrates their mutual understanding and support on international affairs and issues bearing on each other's core interests and major concerns, the ambassador said.

He pointed out that the "Paukphaw" (fraternal) friendship serves as a vital foundation for Myanmar-China friendship, in which the close high-level exchanges between the two countries play an important part.

The friendship between the two neighboring countries dates back to over 1,000 years ago, the ambassador noted, adding that the two peoples enjoy close relations and a friendship that is constantly renewing.

Students pose for a picture in front of a teaching building at a high school in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar donated by the Sino-Myanmar pipelines project, to extend their gratefulness to the Chinese enterprises that offered help. Photo by Ji Peijuan, People's Daily

He introduced that Myanmar's government responded to and took part in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in a quick and active manner since it was firstly proposed by President Xi in 2013, and established a steering committee chaired by state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to implement the tasks related to the initiative.

Last year, Myanmar formed another working committee to facilitate the joint construction of the BRI, and the ambassador himself is a member of it.

He believes that the Belt and Road cooperation not only covers economy, but also other sectors such as education, culture and people-to-people exchanges. Upholding the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI construction is witnessing improving quality.

Myanmar is the junction of South Asia, Southeast Asia and China, thus enjoying natural advantages in the BRI cooperation, U Myo Thant Pe said. The country's participation in the BRI construction, as well as the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) is of great importance for not only the bilateral relations between the two countries, but also the prosperity of the region.

As an important BRI country, Myanmar will expand its cooperation with China in agriculture, infrastructure, energy and trade. The two countries will also constantly enhance mutual understanding and consensus-building during the joint construction of the BRI and the CMEC.

National flags of China and Myanmar fly by a street in Myanmar before Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit to the country. Photo by Ji Peijuan, People's Daily

Under the frameworks of these two strategies, both parties will accelerate the construction of the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone and carry out cooperation to develop Myanmar's Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone. Besides, interconnectivity projects, such as the Muse-Mandalay railway, are also expected to commence in recent days.

The ambassador told People's Daily that over half of the activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic relations will focus on cultural and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

Cultural exchanges are of great significance for Myanmar and China as they enjoy a long history in this regard. In recent years, the two countries have witnessed fruitful results in cultural exchanges. China assisted the upgrading of the Myanmar National Theater, and contributed to Bagan's application for the UNESCO World Heritage by aiding the restoration of the Thatbyinnyu Pagoda. Besides, Chinese coaches also helped Myanmar's martial art teams achieve constant progress.

At present, around 10,000 students from Myanmar are studying in China, and there are also many Chinese students pursuing education in Myanmar.

Myanmar has beautiful natural sceneries, long history and hospitable people, said U Myo Thant Pe, adding that his country sincerely welcomes its Chinese friends to visit Myanmar to further consolidate the cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.