Burmese Parliament to Look Closely at China Relations
With improved relations with the U.S. and the election of long-time opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the parliament of Burma, aka Myanmar, is assessing the future of its relationship with China, on which it has long depended. From Voice of America:
China has long been a key ally of the Burmese government and, according to official estimates, has already pumped at least $15 billion in investments into Burma.
But, as Burma – which is also known as Myanmar – has begun to enact reforms over the past year, releasing hundreds of political prisoners, holding talks with ethnic minority rebels, and easing censorship, it also appears to be trying to lessen China’s influence on its economy.
“The China relationship was clearly a factor in the military government’s decision to move toward democracy, but with Aung San Suu Kyi and sort of an opposition group in parliament, I suspect you’ll see a lot more discussion about issues like that,” Bower said.
[...] “We know from interviews with Myanmar leaders and the business community that there was a feeling of claustrophobia in the country related to China’s dominance,” Bower said.
After the election of Suu Kyi, the Chinese government urged nations to lift sanctions against Burma. From Bloomberg:
“China has noticed that some western countries have expressed willingness to partially lift sanctions against Myanmar,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters in Beijing yesterday. “We welcome such statements of partial lifting of sanctions and call on all parties concerned to completely lift their sanctions against Myanmar.”