China’s Communist Party invites NLD to regional meeting

The National League for Democracy (NLD) will attend an online meeting organized by the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Thursday, according to a senior party member.

Four parties from Myanmar have been invited to the meeting on “Political Parties’ Cooperation in Joint Pursuit of Economic Development,” which will bring together parties from across South and Southeast Asia.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party—the NLD’s main, military-backed rival—and the Arakan National Party are also expected to attend. It was not clear at the time of reporting which other Myanmar party would be present.

NLD lawmaker Bo Bo Oo posted on social media on Wednesday that the NLD would be attending the meeting. A senior party member later told Myanmar Now that Bo Bo Oo, who handles the party’s communications with China, would also be taking part.

The NLD was Myanmar’s ruling party until it was ousted by the military on February 1, despite winning a landslide victory in last year’s election.

China is one of the few countries that recognize the coup regime led by Myanmar’s top general, Min Aung Hlaing. But it has also reportedly expressed concern over the military’s plan to dissolve the NLD, according to media reports.

The invitation to Thursday’s online meeting was not the first time that China has publicly signalled its ongoing relationship with the NLD since it was ousted from power.

In July, the CPC sent a letter to the NLD’s central executive committee thanking it for sending congratulations on the occasion of the CPC’s centenary. 

A ceremony marks the start of the CPC’s centenary celebrations at Tian’anmen Square in Beijing on July 1 (Xinhua)

Also, during a week-long visit to Myanmar in late August, China’s special envoy for Asian affairs, Sun Guoxiang, reportedly requested a meeting with NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The request was denied.

While the Myanmar junta has been tight-lipped about the visit, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported that it was part of Beijing’s effort to help Myanmar “restore social stability and resume democratic transformation at an early date.”

China, which has long been seen as an ally of successive military regimes in Myanmar, was the target of protests and boycotts around the country in the wake of the coup.  

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