ISSN 2330-717X

China Strives To Maintain Military Tie With Burma – OpEd

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By Zin Linn

Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services) received Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ma Xiaotian at Zeyathiri Beikman in Nay-Pyi-Taw on 5 September 2012, The New Light of Myanmar said.

Present on the occasion accompanied by Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing were Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) General Soe Win, General Hla Htay Win of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Commander-in-Chief (Air) General Myat Hein, senior military officers of the Commander-in- Chief Office and the commander of Nay-Pyi-Taw Command.

Deputy Chief of General Staff General Ma Xiaotian of PLA was in the company of Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Li Junhua and Military Attaché Sr Col Xiong Shaowei.

At the call, they cordially focused on promotion of relationship between the armed forces of two countries, implementation of friendly ties at various levels, cooperation in security along Mekong River, promotion of friendly ties between members of the border region forces and cooperation in solving border drug problems.

As reported by the People’s Daily Online, Min Aung Hlaing said the potential for exchange and cooperation between the two armed forces remains great and the prospects are broad. Myanmar hopes to continue good communication and coordination with the Chinese side and will drive the overall development of their comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership.

Burma - China Relations
Burma – China Relations

On Wednesday, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Gen. Soe Win held talks and exchanged views on relations between two armed forces with Deputy Chief of General Staff General Ma Xiaotian of the People’s Liberation Army of China at Zeyathiri Beikman in Nay-Pyi-Taw.

Gen. Ma Xiaotian arrived in Yangon on Tuesday for a goodwill visit to Myanmar (Burma) at the invitation of Deputy Commander-in-Chief Gen. Soe Win.

Present at the meeting together with Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win were General Hla Htay Win of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services, senior military officers of the Office of Commander-in-Chief and the commander of Nay-Pyi-Taw Command.

Gen. Ma Xiaotian was accompanied by Rear Admiral Li Ji of the Deputy Chief of Foreign Affairs Office of the Defense Ministry, Sr Col Song Yachao and officials of the Deputy Chief of Asia Bureau of Foreign Affairs Office, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Li Junhua and Military Attaché Sr Col Xiong Shaowei.

On 3 September, ahead of a visit to Nay-Pyi-Taw, Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang welcomed a delegation of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army led by Gen. Ma Xiaotian, who visited Hanoi for the third Vietnam-China strategic defense talks, according to the VietNamNet Online Newspaper.

Vietnam President Sang hailed the results of the dialogue in Hanoi. The two armies should further improve exchanges and cooperation in different fields in order to further promote mutual understanding and trust, President Sang said. He added to strengthen the Vietnam-China strategic partnership for both peoples’ benefit and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Ma Xiaotian affirmed that the Chinese army is willing to work together with the Vietnamese army to strictly implement the common perceptions and increase the exchange of delegations and implement specific cooperation fields for the healthy and stable development of the Vietnam-China friendship and cooperation.

Gen. Soe Win and Gen. Ma Xiaotian exchanged views on exchange of visits at respective levels between two armed forces of the two countries, cooperation in control of border regions, continuous cooperation in security in international sector, stability of border regions, prevalence of law and order in two countries at Mekong Basin and political, economic and social matters of Myanmar and China.

After the meeting, a ceremony of signing agreement on cooperation between Chinese and Myanmar armed forces followed. The formal procedure was attended by Gen. Soe Win and Gen. Ma Xiaotian.

Vice-President of Myanmar Nyan Tun also received a delegation led by Gen. Ma Xiaotian of People’s Liberation Army of China at the Presidential Palace in Nay-Pyi-Taw Thursday.

Also present at the call together with Vice-President Nyan Tun were Deputy Minister for Defence Commodore Aung Thaw, Deputy FM Zin Yaw and departmental heads. Gen. Ma Xiaotian was accompanied by Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Mr Li Junhua and Military Attaché Senior Colonel Xiong Shaowei, the state-run media said. At the meeting, they discussed issues of promoting friendship and multi strategies relationships between the two countries.

Gen. Ma Xiaotian visit to Myanmar (Burma) occurred coincidentally at a time that Burma has been calling the Western democracies to facilitate and engage by various ways including military ties.

In February, Mizzima News reported that Burma had interested to take part in Cobra Gold 2012, the US-led annual multinational military exercise in the Asia-Pacific. A senior Thai army officer was quoted by Japan’s Kyodo News saying that Burma expressed an interest in joining the annual exercises in the future.

On 1 June at the IISS Shangri-la Security Summit in Singapore, U.S. Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta said the U.S. seeks to engage with other countries to help them build their own military capabilities so they can defend themselves effectively.

“We will encourage that kind of relationship with every nation that we deal with in this region, including Myanmar,” Panetta said.

China may be worried about military relations between Myanmar (Burma) and the US to some extent. Ma Xiaotian visit to Nay-Pyi-Taw seems to balance the regional order by making friend with General Min Aung Hlaing of Burma.

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