BEIJING, Nov 13 : China on Thursday avoided congratulating Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi for her party's landslide election victory which has the potential to strain ties with Beijing.
Beijing has for decades been close to neighbouring Myanmar's authoritarian military leaders, who voters overwhelmingly rejected in historic polls.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama had already congratulated her on a landmark victory in the country's first free election in 25 years. Obama and Ban also praised Myanmar President Thein Sein for successfully staging the historic poll, with the UN chief acknowledging his "courage and vision" to organize an election in which the ruling camp was trounced.
US President Barack Obama was quick to offer congratulations to Suu Kyi, but a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman was circumspect.
"China will continue to extend its assistance and continue with its friendship and all-around mutually beneficial cooperation" with Myanmar, Hong Lei said following the victory. Asked if Beijing had extended congratulations to Suu Kyi, Hong did not answer directly.
"We sincerely wish that Myanmar can have political stability and that it can achieve national development," he added at a regular briefing.
Meanwhile, the White House on Thursday said constitutional changes were still necessary in Myanmar to further democracy, after elections seen as a leap toward full civilian rule. ?AFP