The second meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference was finally held in Myanmar's capital Nay Pyi Taw Wednesday after being postponed several times, with seven northern Myanmese ethnic armed groups invited. With China's coordination, Myanmar's peace process has taken a significant step forward.
Heavy fighting between governmental forces and ethnic armed groups in northern Myanmar has forced innocent residents to flee, many of whom crossed into China. Stray bullets were seen falling inside Southwest China's Yunnan Province, posing severe threats to China's border security and civilians' safety. To quell the clashes, Beijing has spared no effort to mediate among the parties concerned. China's Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang met Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi Monday, and has played a role in the invitation of northern Myanmese ethnic armed groups to talks. These negotiations conform to the interests of Myanmese people and facilitate Myanmar's national reconciliation, which is one of the most urgent tasks for the country's democratic transition.
At present, China and Myanmar are exploring cooperation on the Belt and Road initiative. Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the Belt and Road should be built into a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, innovation and connecting different civilizations. Peace is top of the list and a prerequisite to regional development.
China has put much effort into creating favorable conditions for Myanmar's political negotiation, and advocates bilateral talks on issues that it is directly involved with, for instance, the South China Sea disputes. China has insisted on solving disputes through negotiations and opposes interference of external forces. China and ASEAN reached a Code of Conduct framework which is legally binding recently. Beijing actively conducted bilateral talks with the parties concerned and has successfully put the security risks under control.
China has the will and capability to assist in Myanmar's development. Myanmar's development and national reconciliation are complementary.
Beijing has played an active role in the development of Myanmar's Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone and China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone; the Beijing-proposed China-Myanmar oil pipeline and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor are beneficial to all countries along the route; Chinese enterprises have fulfilled their social responsibilities in Myanmar, having successfully developed Made Island from one without roads and fresh water into a modern port.
It is hoped that Myanmar can seize the peace talks as an opportunity to speed up its national reconciliation process, and take full advantage of its geopolitical position to hitch a ride on China's rise.
Courtesy Global Times