Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword or section
Like this
0Activity
P. 1
Chinas Myanmar Relations

Chinas Myanmar Relations

Ratings: (0)|Views: 7 |Likes:
Published by sellersorbit

More info:

Published by: sellersorbit on Jun 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

01/30/2013

pdf

text

original

 
CHINA’S MYANMAR DILEMMA
Asia Report N°177 – 14 September 2009 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTSEXECUTIVE SUMMARY......................................................................................................iI.
 
INTRODUCTION.............................................................................................................1
 
II.
 
BEIJING NAVIGATES MYANMAR’S POLITICS.....................................................2
 
A.
 
B
ILATERAL
R
ELATIONS
...............................................................................................................2
 
B.
 
U
NITED
N
ATIONS
.........................................................................................................................4
 
1.
 
The Security Council veto...........................................................................................................4
 
2.
 
Beijing’s reaction to the Saffron Revolution...............................................................................6
 
3.
 
Ensuring aid after Cyclone Nargis...............................................................................................8
 
4.
 
Detention and trial of Aung San Suu Kyi....................................................................................9
 
C.
 
C
HINA AND THE
O
PPOSITION
........................................................................................................9
 
D.
 
C
HINA AND THE
E
THNIC
G
ROUPS
...............................................................................................10
 
III.
 
DRIVERS OF CHINESE POLICY...............................................................................14
 
A.
 
B
ORDER
S
TABILITY
...................................................................................................................14
 
1.
 
Narcotics....................................................................................................................................14
 
2.
 
HIV/AIDS..................................................................................................................................15
 
3.
 
Gambling...................................................................................................................................16
 
B.
 
E
CONOMIC
C
ALCULATIONS
........................................................................................................17
 
1.
 
Chinese investment and economic assistance............................................................................17
 
2.
 
Yunnan and the “Go West” campaign.......................................................................................18
 
C.
 
S
TRATEGIC
I
NTERESTS
...............................................................................................................19
 
1.
 
The “Malacca dilemma” and the Indian Ocean.........................................................................19
 
2.
 
Arms sales and technical assistance...........................................................................................21
 
IV.
 
RISKS OF CHINESE POLICY.....................................................................................22
 
A.
 
W
EAK
G
OVERNANCE IN
M
YANMAR
...........................................................................................22
 
B.
 
T
HE
C
OST OF
I
NVOLVEMENT IN
E
XTRACTIVE
R
ESOURCES
.........................................................23
 
C.
 
R
ESENTMENT TOWARDS
C
HINA
.................................................................................................24
 
D.
 
B
EIJING
P
OLICY
U
NDERCUT BY
L
OCAL
A
CTORS
........................................................................25
 
V.
 
LIMITS TO CHINESE INFLUENCE..........................................................................26
 
A.
 
H
ISTORICAL
D
ISTRUST
...............................................................................................................26
 
B.
 
E
XPLOITING
B
ILATERAL
C
OMPETITION
......................................................................................28
 
C.
 
C
HARACTERISTICS OF THE
M
YANMAR
G
OVERNMENT
................................................................30
 
D.
 
ASEAN.....................................................................................................................................31
 
VI.
 
IMPLICATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL APPROACHES....................................33
 
VII.CONCLUSION...............................................................................................................35
 
APPENDICES
A.
 
M
AP OF
M
YANMAR
.........................................................................................................................37
B.
 
H
IGH
-
LEVEL
O
FFICIAL
V
ISITS BETWEEN
M
YANMAR AND
C
HINA
.....................................................38
C.
 
F
OREIGN
D
IRECT
I
NVESTMENT
F
LOWS
............................................................................................39
D.
 
L
OCAL
I
NTERESTS
:
 
L
OGGING AND
C
ROP
S
UBSTITUTION
..................................................................40
E.
 
A
BOUT THE
I
NTERNATIONAL
C
RISIS
G
ROUP
....................................................................................42
F.
 
C
RISIS
G
ROUP
R
EPORTS AND
B
RIEFINGS ON
A
SIA
............................................................................43
G.
 
C
RISIS
G
ROUP
B
OARD OF
T
RUSTEES
................................................................................................46
 
 Asia Report N°177 14 September 2009
CHINA’S MYANMAR DILEMMAEXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Each time global attention is focused on events in Myan-mar, concerned stakeholders turn to China to influencethe military government to undertake reforms. Yet sim-ply calling on Beijing to apply more pressure is unlikelyto result in change. While China has substantial political,economic and strategic stakes in Myanmar, its influenceis overstated. The insular and nationalistic leaders in themilitary government do not take orders from anyone,including Beijing. China also diverges from the West inthe goals for which it is prepared to use its influence.By continuing to simply expect China to take the leadin solving the problem, a workable international approachwill remain elusive as Myanmar continues to play Chinaand the West against each other. After two decades of failed international approaches to Myanmar, Westerncountries and Beijing must find better ways to work to-gether to pursue a wide array of issues that reflect theconcerns of both sides.The relationship between China and Myanmar is bestcharacterised as a marriage of convenience rather thana love match. The dependence is asymmetric – Myan-mar has more to lose should the relationship sour: aprotector in the Security Council, support from a largeneighbour amid international isolation, a key economicpartner and a source of investment. While China seesmajor problems with the status quo, particularly with re-gards to Myanmar’s economic policy and ethnic relations,its preferred solution is gradual adjustment of policy bya strong central government, not federalism or liberaldemocracy and certainly not regime change. In this way,it can continue to protect its economic and strategic inter-ests in the country. In addition to energy and other invest-ments, Myanmar’s strategic location allows China accessto the Indian Ocean and South East Asia.But Beijing’s policy might ultimately have an adverseeffect on Myanmar’s stability and on China’s ability toleverage the advantages it holds. Political instabilityand uncertainty have resulted in a lack of confidence inMyanmar’s investment environment, and weak govern-ance and widespread corruption have made it difficultfor even strong Chinese companies to operate there.Myanmar’s borders continue to leak all sorts of prob-lems – not just insurgency, but also drugs, HIV/AIDSand, recently, tens of thousands of refugees. Chinesecompanies have been cited for environmental and eco-logical destruction as well as forced relocation and humanrights abuses carried out by the Myanmar military. Theseproblems are aggravated by differences in approach be-tween Beijing and the provincial government in Yunnan’scapital Kunming, which implements policies towardsthe ethnic ceasefire groups.At the same time, resentment towards China, rooted inpast invasions and prior Chinese support to the Commu-nist Party of Burma, is growing. Myanmar’s leaders feardomination by their larger neighbour, and have tradi-tionally pursued policies of non-alignment and multilat-eralism to balance Chinese influence. Increasing compe-tition among regional actors for access to resources andeconomic relationships has allowed Myanmar to counter-balance China by strengthening cooperation with othercountries such as India, Russia, Thailand, Singapore,North Korea and Malaysia. The military government isintensely nationalistic, unpredictable and resistant to ex-ternal criticism, making it often impervious to outsideinfluence.While China shares the aspiration for a stable and pros-perous Myanmar, it differs from the West on how toachieve such goals. China will not engage with Myan-mar on terms dictated by the West. To bring Beijing onboard, the wider international community will need topursue a plausible strategy that takes advantage of areasof common interest. This strategy must be based on arealistic assessment of China’s engagement with Myan-mar, its actual influence, and its economic and strategicinterests. The West could better engage China to encour-age Myanmar’s government to commit to a truly inclu-sive dialogue with the opposition and ethnic groups. Inaddition to talks on national reconciliation, dialogueshould also address the economic and humanitarian cri-sis that hampers reconciliation at all levels of society.At the same time, China should act both directly and inclose cooperation with ASEAN member countries tocontinue support for the good offices of the United Na-tions as well as to persuade the military to open up.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->