On This Day

When U Nu Met Mao Zedong

By Wei Yan Aung 12 December 2019

Yangon – On this day 65 years ago, U Nu, the first prime minister of independent Myanmar, was making his first official goodwill visit to China. It took place five months after Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai’s first visit to Myanmar.

The Communist Party of China chairman, Mao Zedong, vice-chairman Liu Shaoqi and Zhou received Myanmar’s prime minister. The Myanmar delegation, including U Thant, who would later become the third general secretary of the United Nations, visited 10 cities during their 16-day visit from Dec. 1-16.

The two sides formally discussed border demarcation for the first time and agreed to discuss the nationality of Chinese residents in Myanmar.

According to his autobiographical novel “Saturday Born”, as he addressed the Chinese leaders, U Nu called for friendship between China and the US, at a time when anti-US sentiment was growing in China.

Premier Zhou Enlai held amicable talks in December 1954 with Myanmar’s then prime minister U Nu (second left).

Due to his speech, then British foreign secretary Sir Anthony Eden requested him to ask the Chinese government to release six US airmen who were detained during the Korean War. U Nu asked Zhou and the pilots were released.

After his return, the two countries exchanged goodwill cultural and religious delegations under the China-Myanmar friendship program. Consular offices were also opened in Kunming in Yunnan Province and Lashio in Shan State. U Nu also visited China in 1960 and 1961.