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Su Kyi to discuss peace process, Myitsone dam in Beijing

Statesman News Service |

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi who left Yangon on Wednesday for an official visit to Beijing, will discuss the peace process in her country and Chinese projects such as the controversial Myitsone dam. 

Suu Kyi, also the Foreign Minister, is expected to meet Chinese leadership and exchange views on the bilateral relations and cooperation, Xinhua news agency reported. 

This will be Suu Kyi’s first visit to China as a government representative. She had earlier visited the country in June last year as head of the Myanmarese opposition at the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang. 

Sources from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party said Myanmar and China were committed to maintaining close and friendly ties. 

Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has convened a national meeting on August 31 with ethnic minorities to try and find a political solution to decades of separatist struggles. 

Greater autonomy is the main demand of nearly all ethnic minorities in the country, including Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kayah, Mon, Rakain and Shan communities, together representing over 30 per cent of Myanmar’s 53 million population. 

The agenda of Suu Kyi’s five-day visit also includes discussions on the Myitsone dam, a $3.6 billion Chinese project that was to be built on the Ayeyarwady river. 

It was suspended by the-then Myanmarese President Thein Sein after being denounced by environmentalists and residents. 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Myanmar in April, a few days after the new NLD-led government came to power. 

Following over half a century of rule by military generals, the Burmese voted Suu Kyi’s party to power in the historic general elections on November 8, 2015. 

Suu Kyi was ineligible to run for the president due to a clause in the military-drafted 2008 Constitution, and the post was taken up by her close aide Htin Kyaw. 

The Nobel laureate holds the portfolios of Foreign Minister, Minister of the President’s Office and State Counsellor, a post created especially for her which is equivalent to that of the leader of the government. 

According to the International Crisis Group, Myanmar’s toughest challenge right now is to balance its political and economic relations globally and renew ties with China, its main trading partner and largest source of foreign direct investment.