The state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Myanmar on January 17-18, the first of its kind in nineteen years, has been a transformative event in regional politics from the perspective of China-Myanmar bilateral relations as well as regional security.
The “comprehensive strategic partnership” between the two countries is moving toward building a Myanmar-China Community with a Shared Future “based on the aims of mutual benefits, equality and win-win cooperation,” as the joint statement issued after Xi’s visit frames it.
Xi said in his banquet speech in Nay Pyi Taw that the reason why the “fraternal friendship between the two countries can last thousands of years” is that they have “stood together through thick and thin and adhered to mutual respect and mutual benefit.” He urged the two countries to be “good neighbours like passengers on the same boat” and create a more favourable environment for their economic and social development.
Xi said the two countries should “push the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) into substantive construction” and as “good brothers to pass on their friendship from generation to generation.”
Myanmar has accorded a grand reception for Xi. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi said that China has always been a good friend of Myanmar, and fate has bound the two sides closely. The two sides agreed to promote the construction of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone, the New Yangon City and the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone, as well as roads, railways and power and energy infrastructures. Overall, the visit marks the transition of the CMEC from conceptual planning to substantive construction, as Chinese Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi assessed.
Wang said Myanmar Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing pledged to Xi that the Myanmar military will firmly support and promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road.