China talks to rebel leaders just before Xi’s Myanmar visit

The South China Morning Post reports that “Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 will try to kick-start stalled Belt and Road Initiative projects and attempt to mediate in the Rohingya crisis during a two-day visit to Myanmar this week to mark the 70th anniversary of relations between the nations.” The visit “may be a ‘milestone’ for bilateral ties, according to Beijing’s senior envoy in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital.”

Miles away from Naypyidaw, China is also preparing. Per a tweet from Aaron Connelly of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, linking to this article:

A week before Xi Jinping visits Myanmar for the first time as president, to sign a slew of Belt and Road deals, his envoy is in rebel-held territory meeting with Myanmar’s most wanted insurgent. How’s that for leverage?

See also in the Diplomat: What does Xi Jinping’s first visit mean for China-Myanmar relations? 

—Jeremy Goldkorn