Aung San Suu Kyi Makes China Debut Visit
Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to begin her first visit to China on June 10, at a time of tension between the two countries.
Aung San Suu Kyi will meet President Xi Jinping and PM Li Keqiang, but no other details have been provided.
Relations between Myanmar (also known as Burma) and China have cooled in recent years, partly because of violence near their mutual border.
Myanmar has been fighting rebels in its eastern Kokang region, which borders China’s Yunnan province.
China is concerned about violence spilling over the border. At least five people in Yunnan died in March when an aircraft from Myanmar dropped a bomb on a sugar cane field.
China sent patrols to the border in response.
The Chinese government department handling Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit would not be making any details of the trip public nor inviting media, other than state media, to any events.
This visit is meant to improve ties between Myanmar’s opposition leader and China but she will be closely watched for various issues.
Many are already calling on Aung San Suu Kyi to recognize her similarities to fellow Nobel Peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo during her visit.
Chinese dissident and writer Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”.
While Myanmar’s military junta was under Western sanctions and Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest, China remained a loyal ally.
Since reforms were introduced in 2011, the government of President Thein Sein has allied itself closely with the US, although China continues to help develop major infrastructure projects in Myanmar.
Given the possibility that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party will do well in upcoming elections, Beijing is determined to put pragmatism first and build a relationship with a woman whose politics it deplores, she adds.
As head of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to play a key role in the presidential elections this November.
Aung San Suu Kyi is unlikely to run for president, however, as a clause in the constitution blocks her from standing because her husband and children are foreign citizens.