November 15, 2019
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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi vows to keep good relations with China

Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Saturday that she expects to continue with the policy of maintaining good relations with all the countries in the world, including China.

But there will be more competition in the economic field, which she said is healthy for Myanmar and the foreign investors.

The chairperson of the National League for Democracy, who is in Singapore for a five-day visit, said that Myanmar has had a good record of maintaining close ties with China and the rest of the world. Myanmar, which she insisted on referring to as Burma, has established a tradition of maintaining good relations with not just its  neighbors but the West as well.

It was one of the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China after the Communist Party of China came into power in 1949, she said.

"I do not see why we should not continue this policy of maintaining friendly relations with all the countries in the world, " she told business leaders and others at the Singapore Summit, a forum organized by an inter-agency office.

Suu Kyi, who is chair of the Lower House Committee for the Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquility, arrived here on Friday. She has been scheduled to meet with senior Singapore leaders and ministers, and to be briefed by the Economic Development Board and other agencies.

She highlighted the importance of further national reconciliation in her country as critically important and called for international opinion to help prevent a backslide in the democratization and opening-up of her home country.

She said the most important for Myanmar in the short run -- the next one or two years -- is to push for an improvement in the rule of law situation and an independent judiciary. She also called for substantial reforms and amendments to the constitution before the general election scheduled for 2015.

"2015 would be too late, if we don't take the necessary steps before that," she said.

On investment, Suu Kyi said that investment in Myanmar should be responsible and transparent.

"I know I am asking for a lot. What we need is caring, intelligent investment. We are a predominantly rural country, and if we want the standard of living of the great majority of our people to rise, we've got to look to rural development, we've got to look to small and medium enterprises," she said.

She called for foreign investors to continue their investment in Myanmar but advised them to make it "as responsible as possible. "

"So please go on with your investment, but please do it responsibly, and please do it with a human heart," she said.

The opposition leader also cited the controversial Letpadaung copper mine project -- which involves a Chinese company -- that led to protests, saying that it was not transparent.

"If there had been transparency at the time the contract was drawn up, the ensuing troubles could have been avoided. So please insist on transparency with whatever it is that you are trying to do," she said.

Suu Kyi led a panel that probed the project. She recommended to make changes to the contract but to let the project proceed in the controversy that involves a complicated set of influences.

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