Myanmar Kisses Beijing’s Ring

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Zin Linn argues that “To people of Burma, China is not only a great impediment to their freedom but also a neo-colonialist under an alliance mask.

Senior Gen. Than Shwe in the midst of swelling international pressure and ahead of the 7-November elections arrived in China on 7 September for a five-day state visit. Analysts said Burma is trying to get support politically from China as it has been planning for its first election in two decades. International observers have criticized the election as a charade as it does not include key opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


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Zin Linn argues that “To people of Burma, China is not only a great impediment to their freedom but also a neo-colonialist under an alliance mask.

Senior Gen. Than Shwe in the midst of swelling international pressure and ahead of the 7-November elections arrived in China on 7 September for a five-day state visit. Analysts said Burma is trying to get support politically from China as it has been planning for its first election in two decades. International observers have criticized the election as a charade as it does not include key opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


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Thanking Hu for the ceremonial welcome, Than Shwe, who recently visited India as well, said that the main purpose of his visit to China is to promote existing neighborly friendship, mutual cooperation and trust between the two countries.

Than Shwe’s China-visit comes three months after Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s trip to Burma during which the two sides signed 15 agreements relating to establishment of pipelines for natural gas, hydropower station and development assistance. According to official media reports, China has made about USD 8.17 billion worth of investment in Myanmar in the recent year.

On 7 September, China’s defended the upcoming elections as Burma’s internal affair and urged other countries not to interfere. “We hope the international community can provide constructive help to the upcoming election and refrain from making any negative impact on the domestic political process and the regional peace and stability,” spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.

I think this visit underscores the nature of Kim Jong-il’s recent visit to Manchuria. Beijing is shielding pariah states on its borders from international opprobrium, to gain access to natural resources and promote security and trade, and those pariah states are calling with reciprocal requests. Pyongyang asked for Beijing to anoint Kim’s putative successor and Yangon wants support for its sham elections. I’m not sure “neo-colonialist” is an accurate term, but Beijing is clearly interested in taking as much as it can, to maintain its economic growth, without sacrificing much more than its democratic reputation. Beijing doesn’t seem very interested in any direct intervention in the domestic affairs of its neighbors. What small gains the U.S. can scratch from Seoul’s belligerent blather, war games, ASEAN resolutions, and condemning land grabs on the Spratly’s is real, but paltry.

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Filed under: Business/Economy, East Asia, Southeast Asia, USA Tagged: aung san suu kyi, burma, china, dprk, hu jintao, kim jong il, myanmar, north korea, prc, than shwe








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