China today sought to dispel the impression that it is averse to seeing India step up engagement with resource-rich Myanmar saying that Beijing will be “happy” to see New Delhi and Naypyidaw developing their relations as it would help regional stability.
Asked for China’s reaction to Prime Minister’s Manmohan Singh’s visit to Myanmar and reports in official media here projecting China and India as competing to reach out to Myanmar’s energy resources,Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told a press briefing here that Beijing likes to see the their ties develop further.
“Both India and Myanmar are China’s friendly neighbours. China is happy to see the development relations between them”,Liu said.
“We hope such development of friendly relations is conducive to the stability and prosperity of the whole region”,he said.
To another question that whether Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will be rushing to Myanmar to reinforce China’s influence in that country following Singh’s visit,Liu said he is not aware of any such plans by Wen.
“China would like to maintain high level exchanges with Myanmar. As far as I know Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has no plans to visit Myanmar in the recent period nor any high level visit by Myanmar is scheduled here”,he said.
Ahead of Singh’s on going visit,a delegation of Myanmar’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) visited Beijing during which the two countries vowed to firm up their ties.
“China has always handled its relations with Myanmar from a strategic perspective,” Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping told the USDP delegation when it called on him on May 23.
This is the first high level political delegation to visit China after the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from 15 years of house arrest and the success of her National League for Democracy,(NLD) winning 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house of the Burmese parliament.
China-Myanmar relations prospered during the regime of the military junata and Beijing is trying to recast its strategic engagement Nay Pyi Daw as it opened to US,India and the western democracies.
A write up in the state-run daily Global Times on May 24 said Singh’s visit to Nay Pyi Daw is an attempt to secure India’s interests after “edged out” by US and China.
“With Myanmar’s new openness to the West,dominated by the US,and China’s ongoing influence in the nation,India has actually been edged out of the main stage” it said.
“While both the US and China are doing whatever they can to gain the favour of economically struggling,strategically placed Myanmar. This is not a situation that India wants to see”,it said.
“It is in India’s interest to encourage Myanmar to take the current political reforms to their logical conclusion for free and fair elections in 2015,but whether it is in Myanmar’s interest to take India as a main ally still needs consideration,” it said.