Hundreds schoolchildren welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping, Friday, January 17, as he arrives in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, for a two-day state visit.
READ MORE: With billboards, banners, fanfare and flags, the government of Myanmar is welcoming Xi Jinping, president of the People’s Republic of China, for a two-day state visit beginning Friday that is expected to mark the 70th anniversary of China-Myanmar relations with agreements for infrastructure projects key to Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
As with any long-term connection, there have been ups, downs and detours.
“This will mark Xi's first visit to Myanmar since 2009 before Xi became president and party chief,” Murray Hiebert, senior associate, South Asia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., told VOA. “After that visit, Myanmar launched reforms, including freeing political prisoners, creating more independence for the media, opening up the economy, deepening relations with the U.S., and cancelling work on the Myitsone Dam, which was a big priority for China. Since 2017, Myanmar has again had a falling out with the U.S. because of the expulsion of nearly a million Rohingya Muslim refugees. This [visit] provides an opening for China to build deeper ties with Myanmar again.”