A New US-China Dance over Burma after Release of Aung San Suu Kyi

An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor comments on the apparently shifting dynamics in the trilateral relationship between China, the United States and Burma (Myanmar):

Just as he finished his trip to India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan, Mr. Obama was faced with a fresh opportunity to bring one more nation to the long chain of democracies surrounding China. On Saturday, the military rulers in Burma (Myanmar) released Aung San Suu Kyi after seven years of house arrest.

By setting free the popular daughter of Burma’s founder to once again rally the people, the ruling junta may be sending a signal that it is ready for a new relationship with the United States and the West.

Specifically, Burma might want to break out of China’s tightening grip – big Chinese investments in Burma’s natural resources, the rising border trade, a critical oil pipeline, and a key naval port. If that’s the case, Obama has difficult choices ahead.

Also related, on the New York Review of Books’ blog, Indian writer Pankaj Mishra asks whether Asia is headed toward a new Cold War.

November 16, 2010 1:36 PM
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