BEIJING - China's Defense Minister has urged Myanmar to maintain stability on their common border as the Southeast Asian country prepares for what Beijing hopes will be successful elections in November, the defense ministry said on Tuesday.
Myanmar holds an historic election in November, when the military-backed ruling party will compete with the ascendant National League for Democracy (NLD) party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in the first free national vote in 25 years.
Since taking power in March 2011, Myanmar's reformist government has sought to decrease the heavy dependence on China that grew when Myanmar was a pariah state under military rule.
Beijing has watched nervously as the United States lifted some sanctions and engaged with the semi-civilian government, although China has also been keen to engage other political parties such as the NLD.
China's Defence Minister Chang Wanquan told Myanmar's deputy commander-in-chief General Soe Win, who was visiting Beijing for military talks, on Monday that China and Myanmar should "jointly maintain stability in the border area".
Ties between Myanmar and China soured this year over fighting between Myanmar's military and the ethnic Chinese Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army along part of the shared border.