efe-epaBy Carlos Sardina Galache. Bangkok Desk

China’s President Xi Jinping starts an official visit to Myanmar on Friday, with Naypyidaw seeking closer ties to its giant neighbor to the north amid widespread Western condemnation over its brutal repression of the mostly-Muslim Rohingya minority.

During his two-day visit, the first by a Chinese head of state in two decades, deals relating to Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road, are expected to be signed, including a special economic zone and a corridor that will link Myanmar’s east coast with the Chinese province of Yunnan. EFE-EPA