Is China Threatened by a More Open Burma?

As Burma prepares to welcome US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and shows increasing signs of drifting out of China’s orbit, Global Post’s Kathleen McLaughlin asks whether the balance of these changes is positive or negative for Beijing:

“It’s in China’s interest for Myanmar to end its isolation,” said Zhao Daojiong, an international economist at Peking University. “An isolated Myanmar is an unstable Myanmar. It’s in China’s interest that Myanmar internationalize and stabilize ….”

Zhu Feng, international relations scholar at Peking University, …said he believes international media often plays up power struggles between the United States and China that don’t really exist.

“I don’t think Myanmar is of great significance strategically to China,” said Zhu. “It’s not bad in the eyes of China for Clinton to visit, for Myanmar to be more open, and it could be in the interests of China ….”

Zhu said there are fears that Burma will open too fast and violently, with something like a color revolution that fueled the Arab Spring. That kind of instability on China’s borders would inevitably create consternation here.

See also Reuters’ catalogue of Burma’s promised reforms and earlier coverage of Burma on CDT.


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