CHINA and Burma (Myanmar) are looking bolster their bilateral relations to become “blood brothers” following Burma’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent visit to Beijing.
The official visit is her first diplomatic trip since taking power in March.
The neighboring countries said in a joint statement they would strengthen trade and cooperation on issues along the border, where fighting between Burma government forces and rebels have occasionally spilled over.
There was no mention of progress, however, on a stalled $3.6 billion dam project in northern Burma primarily funded by Chinese energy interests, which was a key concern during the visit.
China has been on a diplomatic charm offensive in the past year toward its fast-growing neighbor, while Burma under Suu Kyi has shown willingness to embrace its top trading partner and major investor.
Xi said Friday that he hopes Suu Kyi’s five-day visit will boost “strategic cooperation between our two nations.”
Overwhelming local opposition to the Myitsone dam project led Burma’s previous president, Thein Sein, to suspend it.
Chinese officials have pushed for Suu Kyi to re-start construction. China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday that the two countries agreed to try to find a “proper solution.”
Suu Kyi leads Burma’s government with the title of state counselor after her party won elections last year.
Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent 15 years in house arrest under Burma’s former military junta, which received support from Beijing for years. But analysts say Suu Kyi has shown pragmatism and a desire to reorder Burma’s relationship with China while also reaching out to the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press