Tatmadaw chief thanks China for ‘standing on Myanmar’s side’

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing hailed China’s support for Myanmar over the Rakhine State crisis when he met President Xi Jinping in Beijing last week, the Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief said on social media.

A statement posted on Min Aung Hlaing’s Facebook page after the November 24 meeting said their discussion had included “the situation of China standing on Myanmar’s side at the forefront of the international community regarding the Rakhine issue”.

China has provided diplomatic backing for Myanmar over the crisis, which has seen more than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh to escape violence in northern Rakhine since late August.

Beijing’s support has included helping to prevent a United Nations Security Council resolution on the refugee crisis, which has caused outrage in many Western countries.

The Tatmadaw chief said his talks with Xi, who also is the chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, had included closer armed forces cooperation. The statement said they also discussed the peace process in Myanmar, which has been resisted by armed groups based along the border with China.

Xi told Min Aung Hlaing that China pays “great attention” to the peace process, in which it was willing to play a constructive role for the security and stability of border issues, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said in a report of the meeting that made no mention of Rakhine.

The two countries shared a “profound bilateral friendship” and needed to “strengthen strategic communication and accommodate each other’s concerns,” Xi said.

Describing bilateral armed forces ties as being at their “best” in history, Xi pledged to support stronger military exchanges and cooperation, Xinhua reported.

It quoted Min Aung Hlaing as saying Myanmar appreciated China’s help for its national construction and military building over the years, as well as support for the peace process.

The Tatmadaw chief arrived in China on November 21 for a five-day visit.

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