Myanmar's Suu Kyi to visit Beijing

Updated: 2016-08-12 02:04

By AN BAIJIE(China Daily)

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State counselor likely to be treated like a head of government on second trip to China, experts say

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi will take her first trip as state counselor outside the ASEAN region next week when she visits Beijing, where experts believe she will be received as a head of government.

The four-day China visit will begin on Wednesday, Thailand-based magazine The Irrawaddy quoted Zaw Htay, spokesman for the Myanmar President's Office, as saying.

This will be Suu Kyi's second trip to China. The first time, in June last year, she met with President Xi Jinping as leader of Myanmar's National League for Democracy.

In Myanmar's general election in November, the NLD won an absolute majority of seats in both houses of parliament.

China's ties with Myanmar, which gained independence in 1948, have developed steadily. Beijing said earlier that it would not seek to change its policy toward the country, no matter who heads its government.

Suu Kyi will meet with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang, according to Efe, the Spanish international news agency.

Since Suu Kyi is widely respected in the international community, observers said, and her visit to China will attract attention from all sides about her personal career and political acumen, as well as about the China-Myanmar relationship in the new era.

China is likely to treat Suu Kyi with the etiquette afforded to a prime minister, said Jia Duqiang, a senior researcher of Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Treating her with such etiquette is understandable, Jia said, because Suu Kyi ranks as the country's second figure after the president. Additionally, it is widely acknowledged that she works as the head of the government, Jia said.

"The Chinese government will show due respect to her, and to her domestic political influence," he added.

Since the new Myanmar government was formed at the end of March, Suu Kyi has made two foreign trips: to Laos in May and to Thailand in June. She has also accepted an invitation from US President Barack Obama to visit the United States before his presidency ends.

Jia said the Chinese leaders' meeting with Suu Kyi will be a milestone of China-Myanmar relations and lay a foundation for future bilateral cooperation.

The leaders also might touch on sensitive issues including security concerns regarding the two countries' border area, he said.

Jin Yong, deputy chief of the School of Foreign Studies at Communication University of China, said he expected Suu Kyi's China visit to result in stronger economic ties between the two countries.

In a policy paper last month, the Myanmar government vowed to develop agriculture, industry and infrastructure. China has experience and capital in these areas that Myanmar could use to benefit its development, Jin said.

Zhang Yaozhong contributed to this story.