China opens new course to Indian Ocean by means of Myanmar


BEIJING: China’s special envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang visited Myanmar last week for talks with its military rulers, as a replacement route spanning the Southeast Asian country opened connecting Chinese trade flows to the Indian Ocean .

As against most Western countries that have condemned the Myanmar army for ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, China has taken a softer line and said its priorities are stability and not interfering in its neighbour.

During his Aug 21 to Aug 28 visit, Sun met military ruler Min Aung Hlaing also as secretary of state Wunna Maung Lwin and Minister for the Union office Yar Pyae and “exchanged views with them on the political landscape in Myanmar”, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday.

“We will work along side the international community to play a constructive role in Myanmar’s efforts to revive social stability and resume democratic transformation at an early date,” Wang told a daily news briefing in Beijing, when asked about Sun’s trip.

China’s embassy in Myanmar announced the opening of the new trade route linking Yangon’s port on the Indian Ocean to the Chinese border province of Yunnan and by rail onwards to Chengdu within the southwestern province of Sichuan. “Successful testing of the new Indian Ocean route is a crucial breakthrough in strengthening China-Myanmar trade relations,” the embassy said on its Facebook page.

China supported Myanmar working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to implement a five-point consensus aimed toward resolving the crisis and “opposes undue external intervention”, Wang said.

Opponents of Myanmar’s junta have accused China of supporting February’s military takeover that has sparked daily protests resulting in many deaths and thousands displaced by fighting between the military and hastily formed militias.

Beijing has rejected such accusations and said it backs regional diplomacy on the crisis.

A spokesman for Myanmar’s National Unity Government made from opponents of military rule didn’t immediately answer an invitation for discuss the Chinese visit.

But members of the shadow government have previously urged countries to affect them instead of the military.

“China seems to be endorsing the junta by the way it’s conducting diplomacy,” said Sai Wansai, a political analyst from the Shan ethnic group , who said it had been possible Myanmar’s other big neighbour India could plan to imitate .

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