05/31/2011, 00.00
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Aung San Suu Kyi calls on Beijing to dialogue with Burmese opposition

In a videoconference with the University of Hong Kong, the Nobel Peace Prize winner calls on the Chinese leadership to dialogue with the NLD. Economic development must go hand in hand with democracy and human rights. In June, she will make a political tour of the country, itinerary still uncertain for safety reasons.

Yangon (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Chinese diplomats in Myanmar should engage in dialogue with the National League for Democracy (NLD), the main Burmese opposition party banned by the regime on the eve of the elections last November. The Nobel Peace Prize Winner and NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi made the call during a videoconference with the University of Hong Kong. In a live web link up form her home in Yangon, the "Lady" also asked Beijing to tie its stellar economic development to  a series of reforms on the path for democracy and openness.

Answering a question from the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on relations with Beijing, Aung San Suu Kyi said she has "long sought" contacts with the Chinese leadership, which "has always shunned us." China has initiated several projects and economic development in neighbouring Myanmar, which is why the opposition leader calls for "talks also with us" and more contacts with members of the NLD”.

The Nobel Laureate also noted that the rapid growth of the Chinese giant has caused social problems in Myanmar, including trafficking of women along the border in the direction of the Chinese provinces. Beijing is interested in maintaining good relations with the leadership of government, by not meddling in the internal affairs of a country with which it does trade and business.

Aung San Suu Kyi, free after spending 15 of the last 21 years under house arrest since 2003 and who is confined to Yangon, told the audience of students, academics and community leaders she sees a future Burmese society, "free, open, educated" in which there is "respect for the law" and the possibility of a market economy modelled after on the local reality.

The opposition leader states she does not want to choose between China and the West, because both will be necessary for the development of Myanmar. If she had to choose, she states, "we are on the side of human rights." Aung San Suu Kyi ended by clarifying her message to the leadership in Beijing: "China is a great country - says the Nobel Peace Prize Winner - the Chinese people are a great people with a marvellous and long history... They can afford to take more steps, they can afford to be daring, they can afford to allow room for all kinds of opinions. "

Finally the opposition leader also confirmed her intention to make a political tour of the country, as anticipated in recent weeks. The route and itinerary have not yet been established, because the Burmese authorities have not granted any "particular assurance" for her safety.


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