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Myanmar president says democracy won't change China friendship

Published on Sep 22, 2012 12:22 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Myanmar's transition to democracy will not change the country's traditional friendship with China, Myanmar President Thein Sein was cited as telling Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, amid concerns in China its neighbour could become a United Stadium (US) ally.

Chinese officials and media have expressed concern Washington's renewed interest in slowly democratising Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, could be part of US designs to dilute China's influence there and encircle China with pro-US states.

Fears about China's influence in Myanmar have been bolstered not only by Washington's engagement with the country but also the US military's strategic "pivot" back to Asia.

But during a meeting on the sidelines of a trade fair in southern China, Mr Thein Sein said Beijing should not worry.

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