Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday for a state visit to Myanmar, according to chinadaily.com.cn.

It is Xi’s first overseas trip this year, and the first visit to the Asian neighbor by a Chinese president after an interval of 19 years.

During his two-day stay, Xi is scheduled to attend a series of state events held by Myanmar President U Win Myint, hold talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, meet with Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing, and exchange views with the leaders of Myanmar’s parliament and political parties.

Xi will also join Myanmar leaders in a series of celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the launching ceremony of the China-Myanmar Culture and Tourism Year program.

It is Xi’s first overseas trip this year, and the first visit to the Asian neighbor by a Chinese president after an interval of 19 years.

President Xi said he looks forward to renewing China’s close ties with Myanmar and discussing future cooperation during a trip to the Southeast Asian country.

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He made the remark in a signed article titled “Writing a New Chapter in Our Millennia-Old Pauk-Phaw Friendship”, published on Thursday in Myanmar newspapers ahead of his two-day state visit.

Pauk-phaw, which means siblings from the same mother in the Myanmar language, “is an apt description of the fraternal sentiments between our two peoples, whose close ties date back to ancient times”, Xi said.

Myanmar was among the first countries with a different social system to recognize the People’s Republic of China after its founding in 1949.

Xi said that the elder statesmen of the two countries have since made enormous efforts to develop China-Myanmar relations.

“Our relationship has been marked by mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual support. It has become a prime example of equality, win-win cooperation and common development between countries of different sizes,” he wrote, noting that the close ties have delivered real benefits to people in both countries.

China has long been Myanmar’s largest trading partner and its most important source of investment. Bilateral trade reached $16.8 billion in the first 11 months of 2019.

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According to Xi, more and more agricultural and livestock products from Myanmar are making their way to Chinese kitchens, with fruitful cooperation taking place in infrastructure construction and many other fields.

The vibrant cultural, religious and personnel exchanges provide solid support for deepening the friendship between the two nations, he added.

As this year marks the 70th anniversary of China-Myanmar diplomatic relations, Xi said it is important that the two countries carry forward their traditional friendship and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation to bring this relationship into a new era.

He called on the two sides to continue to harness the vital role of high-level exchanges in guiding their relations, step up communication and coordination at all levels and share development experience.

“It is important that we continue to show strong mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests,” Xi said.

China supports Myanmar in advancing the peace and reconciliation process through political dialogue, he said, asking the two sides to work together to ensure peace and stability along the border.

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Xi proposed that two sides deepen results-oriented Belt and Road cooperation and move from a conceptual stage to concrete planning and implementation in building the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor.

“We also need to deepen practical and mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as connectivity, electricity, energy, transportation, agriculture, finance and livelihood to deliver more benefits to both peoples,” he wrote.

China and Myanmar have designated 2020 as the China-Myanmar Year of Culture and Tourism.

“Myanmar’s charming natural scenery and fascinating cultural heritage will surely attract more and more Chinese tourists,” Xi wrote.

Confronted by rising unilateralism and protectionism, the president said the two countries need to strengthen coordination and collaboration in the multilateral platforms, such as in the United Nations and within the framework of East Asia cooperation and Lancang-Mekong cooperation.

“Let us work hand in hand to build an even closer China-Myanmar community with a shared future and write a new chapter for our millennia-old pauk-phaw friendship,” he wrote.