China seeks closer relations with Myanmar

Sept. 14, 2012 at 7:32 AM
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NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Wu Bangguo, China's top legislator visiting Myanmar, has offered proposals for closer bilateral relations, the official Chinese news agency said.

Wu, chairman of the standing committee of China's National People's Congress, called for smooth advancement of large projects between the two countries and joint efforts for stability in the border region, Xinhua news agency reported.

Wu, after his meeting with Myanmar Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann, said: "I hope the two countries could earnestly implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state and further deepen traditional friendship, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and promote common development," Xinhua reported.

Wu called for the successful advancement of projects such as the China-Myanmar oil and natural gas pipeline project off the coast of Myanmar, which would facilitate Chinese imports of Middle East oil.

China has been a major trading partner of Myanmar and Beijing has been seeking to improve ties with the country's new, reform-minded civilian-led government which came to power last year after decades of military rule.

Last year, the new government, in a rare show of bowing to public protest, halted work on the $3.6 billion Chinese-backed Myitsone hydroelectric project in an environmentally sensitive region at the head of the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, formerly called Burma. There is public resentment in Myanmar against what is seen as Beijing's exploitation of that country's rich resources.

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