Chinese premier meets Myanmar chief; US senator cancels trip (Roundup)
Jun 3, 2010, 11:07 GMT
Yangon - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met Thursday with Myanmar's junta chief and witnessed the signing of 15 cooperation agreements with the pariah state.
Wen met with junta head Senior General Than Shwe in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's military capital, for private talks, officials said.
China has in the past expressed concerns about Myanmar's ability to hold a general election it plans some time this year, the first polls there in two decades.
Beijing is worried that the junta's condition that all armed ethnic minority groups must transform themselves into government militias prior to the polls could lead to fighting in Myanmar's northern states that border China.
A Myanmar military attack on the Kokang armed force last year led to thousands of refugees fleeing into China's Yunnan province.
Besides meeting with Than Shwe, Wen also held talks with his Myanmar counterpart, Thein Sein.
The two premiers witnessed the signing of 15 economic agreements on a natural gas pipeline, hydropower, grant aid, rail transport, border trade and mining.
Wen arrived in Yangon Wednesday, making him the first Chinese premier to visit Myanmar in 16 years. He was scheduled to depart Thursday.
Meanwhile, US embassy sources in Bangkok announced Thursday that US Senator Jim Webb had cancelled a planned visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, where he was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
'Senator Jim Webb, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asia and Pacific Affairs, has concluded his visit to Thailand and Korea and will not be travelling to Burma as previously scheduled,' the US embassy said in a statement.
Webb was last in Myanmar in August when he met with Than Shwe who agreed to free US national John William Yettaw, 53, who had been sentenced to seven years in jail for swimming uninvited to the home-cum-prison of Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi.