Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

Make CT Your Homepage

China Opts for Closer Military Cooperation with Myanmar despite Supporting Rebel Groups

Closer militaries

(Photo : Xinhua) Myanmar's de facto leader, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, with members of the visiting Chinese military delegation.

China's latest attempt to turn Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader of Myanmar, into a more compliant ally saw it dispatch a high-level delegation of generals belonging to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to build closer military ties.

The arrival of the PLA delegation, however, comes at a time when Myanmar is in the process of negotiating peace talks with ethnic minority groups that have waged wars of secession for the last 70 years. The strongest rebel group is supported by China.

Like Us on Facebook

The first talks from Sept. 1 in the capital Naypyitaw began inauspiciously with the Chinese-backed United Wa State Army storming out of the peace talks after they felt they were slighted. The Wa have an armed force of 20,000 fighters and are the largest rebel army in Myanmar.

The talks ended inconclusively but State Counselor Suu Kyi, who is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, called it a step towards solving the great differences that divide the government and the country's many ethnic minorities.

Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Xu Qiliang, who leads the visiting delegation, said the PLA will further enhance mutual trust, exchange and cooperation with the Myanmar Army at different levels and in different fields.

He told Suu Kyi China values highly the friendly cooperation between the two countries, He added China firmly upholds a friendly policy towards Myanmar and supports Myanmar's national reconciliation process.

Xu said China is willing to continue playing a constructive role in advancing Myanmar's peace process and hopes the two countries will work together to maintain peace and stability at the border areas.

Xu mentioned her recent trip to China during which she and the Chinese leadership led by President Xi Jinping agreed to further enhance the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Myanmar.

Suu Kyi said enhancing the friendship, mutual understanding and trust between the two countries is very important for the China-Myanmar relations.

She thanked China for its role in Myanmar's peace process and said she hopes to see new progresses in the friendly cooperation between the two sides.

China had a close relationship with Myanmar's former military dictatorship that ran the government, and views with suspicion Suu Kyi's democratization process they fear might lead her to developing closer ties with the West.

China has also been urging Myanmar to resume work on the Chinese-invested $3.6-billion Myitsone dam project, 90 percent of whose power was originally planned to have gone to China.

Real Time Analytics