China touts Myanmar's potential

Oct. 4, 2013 at 11:29 AM

BEIJING, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Myanmar is entering a period of development that should encourage foreign investors to warm to the former junta, China's envoy to the nation said Friday.

Myanmar President Thein Sein has been praised for steering the country forward politically following general elections in 2010. The election ended a long period of military rule.

Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Yong Houlan told the official Xinhua News Agency in Beijing the government in Myanmar shared many of the common goals for the region.

"Myanmar is entering into a period of socio-economic development. The inflow of foreign investment and technical know-how is the need of the country for development," he said in an interview published Friday. "It should be said our cooperation potential is immense, the space of cooperation is broad."

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has drawn interest from international investors eager to capitalize on the easing of sanctions by Western governments. Human rights groups have expressed frustration over the development, saying it was sanctions that encouraged reforms in the first place.

Myanmar's political progress has been overshadowed by national security issues. Conflict between Buddhists and the minority Muslim community has plagued the country during recent months.

President Sein this week visited restive Rakhine state for the first time since taking office in 2011. His visit was marked with an outbreak of violence against the Muslim minority there.

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