Suu Kyi begins historic visit to China

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in China, a historic visit that comes during a period of marked tension between the two countries.

Her visit will last till Sunday. She is to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Li Keqiang, and a group of Chinese businessmen, Efe news agency reported.

During the visit, Beijing will look to strengthen its relations with Myanmar’s reformist government and the opposition.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the trip will deal with exchanges between the Chinese Communist Party and Myamnar’s National League for Democracy led by Suu Kyi, which is expected to do well in the upcoming elections in Myanmar this year.

Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her peaceful fight for freedom in her country.

She spent more than 15 years under house arrest and some time in prison.

The visit comes at a time of tension between the two countries.

After the dissolution of the military junta in 2011, Myanmar’s closeness to the US has been concerning Beijing which now seeks to improve relations with the reformist government and the opposition.

China was practically Myanmar’s only global ally during the junta rule between the 1960s and 2011.

Currently, China finds itself on slippery ground with Myanmar owing to a conflict between Kokang minority and the Burmese army in northern Myanmar, bordering the Chinese province of Yunnan.

Myanmar has often said that Kokangs, 90 percent of whom are ethnic Han — similar to majority of the Chinese — receive aid from China, which Beijing denies.