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China Daily Website

Myanmar reforms won't hurt China links

Updated: 2013-05-11 01:26
By ZHOU WA ( China Daily)

Myanmar's political reforms will not affect that country's ties with China, and bilateral cooperation will improve, according to a report released on Friday by a publisher affiliated with one of China's top think tanks.

No matter which direction Myanmar's political reform takes and who will become the president of the country in the future, the current and future leaders of Myanmar will implement a China-friendly foreign policy, the report said.

Myanmar reforms won't hurt China links

Wang Yuping, a coach from the Sports Institute of Technology in Chengdu, Sichuan province, trains divers in Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, on Friday. Zhang Wei / China Daily  

The Social Sciences Academic Press (China) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences published the Annual Report on Myanmar's National Situation, also known as the "Blue Book of Myanmar".

Due to geopolitics and geo-economics, the two neighbors have enjoyed deep cooperation in the past. China has obvious economic advantages in its ties with Myanmar, and the two countries will further boost their cooperation in political, economic and social fields, the report said.

Considering this, Myanmar "will not initiate a confrontation with China nor join the Western bloc", the Blue Book said.

China and Myanmar have enjoyed good ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1950. But as reform in Myanmar continues, several Chinese projects in the Southeast Asian nation have faced challenges.

In 2011, Myanmar decided to suspend cooperation with China on the Myitsone hydropower project on the Irawaddy River, which led to huge losses for a Chinese company.

Rapid changes in domestic politics and foreign policies took place after Myanmar held its first election since 1990 in 2010.

Since taking office, Myanmar President U Thein Sein has significantly improved the country's ties with the United States and other Western countries. The West has largely alleviated two-decade-long sanctions it imposed on Myanmar over its previous military rule.

In 2012, Myanmar enacted a Foreign Investment Law, and it is developing "special economic zone" legislation.

"The future government of Myanmar will continue to handle its ties with Beijing based on its national interests rather than the differences of ideology and political systems", the report said.

The fact that some problems are challenging China-Myanmar ties shows there is still distrust between high-level officials in the two nations, said Li Chenyang, a professor of Myanmar studies at Yunnan University and also the chief editor of the report.

"But we cannot say that there is no bright future for China-Myanmar ties. Instead, we should be confident about future ties, as long-lasting good-neighborly cooperation is the common need of both China and Myanmar," he said.

He suggested Beijing face up to its shortcomings in its relations with Myanmar and dedicate itself to solving problems in the nations' bilateral economic cooperation.

The report also suggests Beijing further promote ties to improve its image in Myanmar, and make sure the two nations enjoy sustainable development of bilateral ties.

Chinese enterprises, should avoid focusing too much on benefits and harming the strategic interests of the two countries, when entering Myanmar, the report said.

Xu Liping, a researcher on Southeast Asian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, added that Chinese investors in Myanmar should also respect local customs and religious beliefs.

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