China, Myanmar vow closer ties as Suu Kyi visits Beijing

Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, pose for the media before their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Suu Kyi was welcomed by Premier Li Keqiang at a formal ceremony Thursday at part of a visit that will include talks with President Xi. The trip ending Sunday is her first to China since her party won a historic majority last year.(Rolex Dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, left, hold a talk at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016.(Rolex Dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi visits the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Emperor Qin Shihuang in Xi'an in northwestern China's Shaanxi Province, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. China and Myanmar have pledged to forge closer ties as "blood brothers" following Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to Beijing, her first diplomatic trip since taking power in March. (Li Yibo/Xinhua via AP)
Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, pose for the media before their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016. Suu Kyi was welcomed by Premier Li Keqiang at a formal ceremony Thursday at part of a visit that will include talks with President Xi. The trip ending Sunday is her first to China since her party won a historic majority last year.(Rolex Dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)
Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi hold a talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016.(Rolex Dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends in a meeting with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016.(Rolex Dela Pena/Pool Photo via AP)

BEIJING — China and Myanmar said Saturday that they have pledged to forge closer ties as "blood brothers," as Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi got set to wrap up a visit to Beijing, her first diplomatic trip since taking power in March.

The neighboring countries also said in a joint statement that they would strengthen trade and cooperation on issues along the border, where fighting between Myanmar government forces and rebels have occasionally spilled over. There was no mention of progress, however, on a stalled $3.6 billion dam project in northern Myanmar primarily funded by Chinese energy interests, which was a key concern during the visit.

China has been on a diplomatic charm offensive in the past year toward its fast-growing neighbor, while Myanmar under Suu Kyi has shown a willingness to embrace its top trading partner and major investor.

The five-day visit, concluding Sunday, is the second trip to China in 15 months for Suu Kyi, who was imprisoned for more than a decade by Myanmar's former Beijing-backed military junta.

Suu Kyi has indicated that she will seek more balanced relations with China and the United States compared to Myanmar's previous government, headed by former President Thein Sein, who initiated political reforms and built ties with Washington.

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