BEIJING (AP) — Myanmar pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will visit Communist Party-ruled China for five days next week.
Suu Kyi, who is an international symbol of democracy for her yearslong defiance of an authoritarian military regime in Myanmar, now has ambitions for her country's presidency, which would involve the need for smooth relations with Beijing.
Suu Kyi will visit from June 10 to 14 as chairwoman of her National League for Democracy party at the invitation of China's Communist Party for an inter-party exchange between the two countries, China's Foreign Ministry announced Friday.
"China has maintained long-term friendship with Myanmar's various parties including the National League for Democracy," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news briefing.
"We hope to further enhance bilateral communication and understanding through this visit to push ahead with the friendship development between China and Myanmar in various areas."
During her 15 years under house arrest, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate won admiration for her fiery speeches and scathing criticism of the military regime that ruled Myanmar, or Burma, at the time. Her critics note that she now carefully chooses her battles because of her presidential ambitions.
Fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo remains in prison in China, serving an 11-year sentence after being convicted in 2009 of subversion for penning an appeal for democracy.