Tuesday, April 21, 2009

China ramps up support for Burma

(DVB)–Asian business leaders and heads of state wrapped up talks on the economic crisis last week with China pledging further economic support for Burma, reported a state-run newspaper today.

Senior Burmese government officials, including Prime Minister Thein Sein, flew to China last Wednesday to meet with the Chinese premier, before attending the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2009.

Around 1600 business leaders and heads of state attended the conference from 17 to 19 April in China’s Hainan province.

The talks discussed how Asian countries would cooperate to offset the problems of the economic recession.

Prior to the conference, Thein Sein attending a private meeting with Chinese premier Win Jiabao in which Wen Jiabao said that the conference would contribute towards strengthening ties between the two countries, reported a Burmese state-run newspaper today.

“The [People’s Republic of China] stands by [Burma] in its drive for stability, economic development and national unity,” it said, adding that the two touched upon the success of China’s economic investments in Burma.

Thein Sein also met with leading Chinese industrialists prior to the conference, including chairman of the China National Petroleum Corporation, Zhang Jialin.

Last month the two countries signed a deal to pump Burma’s vast natural gas reserves to China’s southern Yunnan province.

Critics of the deal have argued that the construction of the pipeline will lead to land confiscation and increased militarization along the 2000 kilometer stretch of the pipeline.

China is Burma's principal trading partner, and one of only a handful of countries not to adhere to international sanctions against the Burmese regime.

Reporting by Francis Wade

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