China’s Wen Jiabao, Myanmar Leaders to Discuss Sensitive Topics
From the Los Angeles Times:
For Myanmar, also known as Burma, the visit should provide a useful endorsement of its political “road map,” the cornerstone of which is a promised election this year. The balloting is aimed at convincing the world that the military-led government is becoming more open and democratic, analysts said.
“From the Burmese perspective, it’s important that Premier Wen is going at this time,” said Derek Tonkin, Britain’s former ambassador to Thailand and now chairman of Network Myanmar, a civic group. “It will be seen as a Chinese endorsement of what Burma’s doing and their support for the process.”
Beijing is probably less interested in encouraging democracy, given its wary view of political reform at home, than in Myanmar’s plans for exercising power after the election, which many Western governments have discounted as little more than window dressing.
At the same time, analysts said, Beijing is under some pressure from the West to push for constructive change in Myanmar, as China is one of the few countries with much influence on the isolated government.