Added by Gary Dunn on November 16, 2010
China’s Foreign Ministry says it is positive Myanmar will continue its peace and ethnic reconciliation process following the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
A spokesman for the Ministry, Hong Lei, said: “We hope and are confident that Myanmar will continue advancing the seven-point road map plan, and will maintain peace and stability, promoting ethnic reconciliation and economic and social development.”
China reportedly maintains a strong relationship with the ruling junta that was responsible for holding Suu Kyi under house arrest for the most part of the last 20 years, but Suu Kyi has said that, despite this, she does not regard China as her enemy.
It is reported that China has been keeping in contact also with opposition groups, since it is particularly keen to maintain stability along its shared border with Myanmar, where conflicts between rebel groups and central government have flowed over to Chinese land in the past.
In addition, Myanmar gives China access to the Indian Ocean, from where it can import oil and gas to landlocked provinces in the southwest, and where it can also establish military bases or listening posts.
Myanmar state media reports that China has invested $8.17 billion in the country in this financial year alone, mostly for energy projects; $5 billion in hydropower and $2.15 billion in oil and gas. However, there are doubts over the reliability of these figures.