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China lauds ‘friendly’ Myanmar as junta leader arrives

Posted by Author on September 7, 2010

By Dan Martin (AFP), Sep. 7, 2010 –

BEIJING — China on Tuesday hailed Myanmar as a “friendly neighbour” and warned the world not to meddle in its upcoming election, as the head of the country’s military junta arrived for a state visit.

Than Shwe, whose regime has drawn international condemnation for its human rights record and political repression, is on a four-day visit that will include a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

While Myanmar is the subject of tough Western sanctions, China — the junta’s main trading partner and an eager investor in the isolated state’s sizeable natural resources — called for even closer ties with its neighbour.

“China and Myanmar are friendly neighbours and this year marks the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters.

“We are willing to take this opportunity to further consolidate our traditional friendship and make new contributions to regional peace and stability.”

Myanmar will hold its first election in 20 years in November but pro-democracy parties allege that restrictions imposed by the iron-fisted military regime will virtually ensure it wins the poll.

The election has been widely criticised by activists and the West as a sham.

Speaking at a regular press briefing, Jiang deflected questions about Myanmar’s human rights record and whether China’s support has helped keep the junta in power…….(more detals from AFP)

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