Chinese President Xi Jinping reinforced his support for embattled Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi Saturday, signing 33 bilateral agreements covering a range of projects, including rail and port ventures to allow China access to the Indian Ocean and to shorten the route for its oil and gas imports from the Persian Gulf.
The agreements were signed in the Myanmar capital of Naypyitaw at the end of Xi's two-day visit, the first to the country by a Chinese head of state in nearly two decades.
Xi's visit came as the Myanmar government faces intense global criticism for a 2017 military campaign that targeted minority Rohingya Muslims, resulting in the deaths of thousands and the exile of nearly 750,000 others.
ICJ to Rule Next Week on Urgent Measures in Rohingya Genocide Case The ruling comes a month after Myanmar's civilian leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi travelled to The Hague to defend the bloody 2017 crackdown by her nation's army against the Rohingya
United Nations investigators have described the military campaign as genocide, a charge Myanmar is facing at the International Court of Justice.
The two leaders also signed agreements covering the resettlement of internally displaced persons in Myanmar's Kachin State, on the border with China, and deals pertaining to security, agriculture and information.
China has supported Myanmar throughout the Rohingya crisis and is now increasing efforts to solidify its relationship with the Southeast Asian country, a strategically located country in the region."
We are drawing a future road map that will bring to life bilateral relations based on brotherly and sisterly closeness in order to overcome hardships together and provide assistance to each other, Xi said Friday.
China's Xi Visits Myanmar for Infrastructure Talks Belt and Road projects top two-day agenda expected to include signing cooperation agreements as countries celebrate 70-year bond warming once again massive Beijing-funded dam stalled by public environmental concerns
The agreements are part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious global infrastructure development and investment plan to facilitate trade from East Asia to Europe.
Xi's visit coincided with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Myanmar, then known as Burma, and the first to the country by a Chinese president in the past 19 years.