Email This Story :
The Chinese premier signed major deals and discussed the thorny issue of border stability with neighbouring Burma’s junta chief on Thursday during a visit to the military-ruled country.
Wen Jiabao met Senior General Than Shwe in capital Naypyidaw during his three-day visit, which comes ahead of Burma’s elections later this year and is the first by a Chinese prime minister to the country in 16 years.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in Beijing the two sides had “reached consensus on many issues and signed a lot of major deals which marks another step forward”.
Jiang told a briefing Burma’s premier Thein Sein was included in the talks, during which the two sides signed a series of agreements on trade, finance, energy, science and technology.
China is the junta’s key ally and trading partner, and an eager investor in the isolated state’s sizeable natural resources. In November its top oil producer began construction of a pipeline across Burma.
But ties between the two countries frayed last August when fighting between Burma’s isolated ruling junta and rebel ethnic armies in the remote northeast drove tens of thousands of refugees into China.
“Premier Wen Jiabao said China values its good neighbourliness with the Burmese side from a strategic perspective,” said the spokeswoman.
She said the premier wanted to bring relations “to a new high” on the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the countries.
China Radio International also reported on Thursday that Premiers Wen and Thein Sein attended a signing ceremony for a China-Burma oil and gas pipelines project.
The pair were due to attend an inauguration ceremony at Myanmar [Burma] International Conference Centre in Naypyidaw which was built and funded by China, before Wen returned to Rangoon to fly out of the country.
He arrived in Rangoon on Wednesday afternoon for what the state-controlled New Light of Myanmar newspaper said was a “goodwill visit”, before visiting a school and the famed Shwedagon pagoda.