The Irrawaddy

Chinese Navy Ships Visit Burma for Joint Exercises

Chinese Navy officers walk past a Chinese naval ship on a visit to Davao city, southern Philippines April 30, 2017. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr - RTS14KGI

SHANGHAI, China — Chinese navy ships are visiting Burma and will conduct communications, search and rescue, and other joint exercises with the Burma Navy, China’s defense ministry said on Saturday.

The ships arrived in Rangoon on Thursday for a four-day visit, spokesman Wu Qian said in remarks posted on the ministry’s website.

Wu said China was willing to strengthen strategic communication and deepen cooperation with Burma, while making joint efforts to safeguard regional peace and stability and promote bilateral ties.

The ship visit started the day China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to a framework for a long-mooted code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea.

It comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping met Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi—who serves as Burma’s foreign minister while also being de facto head of its civilian government—in Beijing earlier this week following China’s Belt and Road Forum.

China had a close relationship with Burma’s former military-run government, and has carefully watched the democratization process in its strategically located southern neighbor.