Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi will be invited to Beijing, says China's ambassador to Myanmar

China's ambassador to Myanmar says Nobel Peace laureate's standing ensures future meeting

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 January, 2014, 5:35am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 May, 2014, 8:23am

China's ambassador to Myanmar says it is only a matter of time before Beijing invites the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for an official visit.

The Nobel Peace laureate has said she would like to visit China, which still holds significant economic and political influence in Myanmar, but the invitation should come from the Chinese government.

Suu Kyi has declined invitations from semi-official organisations in China in the past.

Yang Houlan, the ambassador, said in an interview with the Sunday Morning Post that Beijing would continue to engage all political parties in the country, including Suu Kyi's opposition group the National League for Democracy. Yang said the invitation to Suu Kyi would come at a time convenient to both sides, although there were no firm plans.

"I have met Suu Kyi several times since assuming my post," Yang said. "Given her international standing and popularity among the Myanmese people, China's invitation will just be a matter of time," he said.

Speculation about an eventual visit to China by Suu Kyi began in late 2011 when she declined to rule one out during interviews with Chinese media.

During a trip to South Korea in January last year she said she hoped to visit China soon.

Relations between China and Suu Kyi's opposition party improved greatly last year, with both sides appearing to want to forge closer links ahead of a general election in Myanmar in 2015.

The National League for Democracy sent four delegations to China last year, with the most recent in December led by U Nyan Win, the opposition party secretary and a confidant of party leader Suu Kyi.

"We are particularly interested in listening to their views over ways and means to further promote our co-operation under new circumstances," Yang said.

The league is expected to perform strongly in the polls next year when it takes on the governing Union Solidarity and Development Party, which has strong ties to the military.

President Thein Sein has said he backs changing the country's constitution to allow any citizen to become head of state, an apparent reference to Suu Kyi.