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Backgrounder: Basic facts about Myanmar

04-02-2011 11:21 BJT

BEIJING, April 2 (Xinhua) -- China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin left Beijing on Saturday morning for Myanmar where he will pay an official and friendly visit.

Construction workers prepare to return home after a day of work at a construction site in
Myanmar's capital Naypyitaw January 30, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

The following are some basic facts about Myanmar:

Myanmar, located in southeast Asia, borders China, India, Bangladesh, Laos and Thailand.

With an area of nearly 677,000 square km, Myanmar has a population of about 57.5 million, consisting of 135 ethnic groups, with Myanmese accounting for about 65 percent of the total population.

Naypyitaw, capital of Myanmar, has a population of some 800,000.

Over 85 percent of Myanmar's population believe in Buddhism, which was introduced to the country more than 2,500 years ago.

There are plenty of pagodas, temples and monks in Myanmar -- the three distinctive features of the country's Buddhist culture.

With an estimated 100,000 pagodas across the country, Myanmar is known as the "country of pagodas."

Myanmar is also called the "Forest Kingdom," with forest coverage reaching 52 percent. Myanmar is well known for its jade and gems.

Although rich in natural resources, Myanmar has for many years lagged behind in economic development and is among the least developed nations in the world.

As the pillar of Myanmar's economy, agriculture contributes about 40.2 percent of the country's GDP.

China and Myanmar are close and friendly neighbors. The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1950, shortly after the founding of the People's Republic of China.

In the past decades, the two nations have maintained good-neighborly relations, which have been growing steadily.

In 2010, bilateral trade hit 4.44 billion U.S. dollars, a 53.2-percent increase over the previous year, with China being the second largest trading partner of Myanmar.

China's investments in Myanmar grew rapidly last year to reach 12.32 billion dollars, becoming the biggest foreign investor in the country.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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