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China's Wen to meet with Myanmar junta leaders

world Updated: May 26, 2010 10:56 IST

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Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will meet with leaders of Myanmar's junta to discuss energy cooperation and aid to the southeast Asian nation during a visit next week, a top diplomat said Wednesday.

During the June 2-3 visit, Wen will hold talks with reclusive junta chief General Than Shwe, Prime Minister Thein Sein and other top officials, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told reporters.

"The two countries will sign a number of cooperation documents covering economy, trade, finance, energy, science and technology," Zhang said, without offering specifics.

Last year, bilateral trade between the neighbours reached 2.91 billion dollars, up 10.7 percent year-on-year, as progress was made in joint projects involving energy, transportation and power supply, Zhang said.

China is the isolated state's sole major ally on the diplomatic stage and one of its key trading partners.

Energy-hungry China is an eager buyer of Myanmar's sizeable natural gas reserves and has in the past tried to shield its ruling junta from international sanctions imposed over its poor human rights record.

"We will offer help to Myanmar, to help it grow its economy and improve the well-being of its people," Zhang said.

"We will offer assistance as our ability permits to the national development of Myanmar, particularly in those areas that will benefit the general public, such as transport and education."

Wen's visit to Myanmar will be the final stop of a four-nation tour that will take him to South Korea, Japan and Mongolia starting Friday.

In April, Wen postponed a trip to Myanmar, Brunei and Indonesia due to a huge earthquake in northwestern China that killed more than 2,000 people.