2nd round of Myanmar peace talks begins as China brings ‘soft power’ to process


Myanmar ethnic people attend the second session of the Union Peace Conference - 21st century Panglong in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 24 May 2017. Photo: Hein Htet/EPA

China can continue to bring "soft power" to Myanmar's peace process, Chinese experts said, as the Panglong peace conference began on Wednesday.

The second meeting of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference of Myanmar is being held in Nay Pyi Taw, nine months after the first one in August 2016, and hopes to unite all ethnic groups and build a democratic federal union through dialogue, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

In the first day of the five-day meeting, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi called on the government, armed forces, ethic armed groups and political parties to exercise patience and perseverance to reach a consensus on the path to national reconciliation. 

She said the peace conference would open a new historic page of political dialogue which the people support, AFP reported.

As a friendly neighbour, China has always supported Myanmar's peace efforts and reconciliation, and the meeting helps increase mutual understanding and trust, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a daily briefing on Wednesday. 

China hopes the relevant parties in Myanmar could stick to dialogue and negotiations, solve differences through peaceful means, and to achieve lasting ceasefire across the country, Lu said. He added that China will continue to help promote peaceful talks, based on the willingness of the Myanmar government and other relevant parties. 

As Myanmar's biggest neighbour and trading partner in 2016, China has repeatedly expressed support for Myanmar's peace process. 

China has always played a "positive" role in Myanmar's peace process, after Special Envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang met with seven armed ethnic groups from the China-Myanmar border, Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV reported. 

"Peace in Myanmar is also in China's interests, and China can continue to play the role of 'ice-breaker' and 'bridge' for the ethnic armed forces and the government," Xu Liping, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' National Institute of International Strategy, told the Global Times.

Some 1,400 representatives from the government, parliament, military, invited political parties, armed ethnic organizations and civil society are participating in the meeting. The 15 armed ethnic organizations at the event include eight signatories and seven non-signatories to the Nationwide Cease-fire Accord (NCA).

The meeting is a significant occasion to build trust, which is crucial for the country to fully implement the NCA without any compromise, said Xu.

Distrust comes from disrespect for the ethnic groups' right to exist, to develop and to exploit natural resources, and the meeting is a good chance to address such problems, he added.

Courtesy Global Times

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