Monday, October 22, 2007

The Growing Co-Dependent Relationship between Burma and China

The breakout in Burma has become the most critical revolutionary wave in Burmese history. Not only monks but also young students and activists have taken to the streets to protest the current military government. Moreover, the images of the assassinated Japanese journalist were broadcasted in media all over the world, which has incited the international community to unanimously condemn Burma.

At the UN Security Council, China at first did not stand behind imposing sanctions against Burma, but due to international pressure, China issued a suggestion to the Burmese government that “they hoped the Burmese government communicate with opposition factions.” However, following UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari meeting with Military General Than Shwe and twice with the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, China instead addressed that “the issue of Burma did not constitute a threat to international and regional peace, and Burma’s future could only be properly resolved by the efforts of the people and their government.”

Regarding Burma’s street protest, international attention was also given to Burma’s relationship with influential countries such as China, India, Japan and Russia. Burma’s geographical position in the triangular region of South Asia, Southeast Asia and China, and this shows the strategic importance of Burma. In recent years, Burma has been excavating natural gas and oil resources. Among these, a major turnpike linked with China elevated Burma’s strategic position even higher, showing China and Burma’s cooperation has grown stronger.

We must emphasize that China is a vicious and behind the scenes manipulator; for a long period of time, China has provided economic and military assistance to Burma. For instance, in the last ten years, the discovery of natural gas and oil resources in the external Burmese seas and China’s demand of energy resources for its “Western improvement” policy have shaped China’s favorable diplomatic strategy towards Burma. Under Chinese shelter, it is very unlikely that the Burmese military junta will abandon the military regime and allow any democratic elections to take place. Besides, an additional plan announced by Burma two years ago allowed for foreign companies to take part in 30% of the product share if they mutually developed Burma’s oil resources. So far this plan has attracted foreign companies from Singapore, China and the U.S.

In geo-political influence, India and China have both engaged in acquiring Burmese oil benefits. India has a military post near the Andaman Sea, while China has an explosive detection station in Burma’s Coco Island. China has actively pursued opening up oil channels as seen through the Mongolia, China, India, Burma Economic Cooperation Forum (BCIM), in which a channel is opened through the Yangtze River's channel—from the Indian Ganges to the Mekong River—highlighting China’s wish to link up with Burma and aiming directly at the strategic consideration of the Indian Ocean.

When observing the relationships between China and Burma, one can see that China’s foreign policy resembles international politics of the 1950s and 1960s. China and Burma, relying on the present mutual economically beneficial and strategic requests, will never support the opposition’s demand for “freedom, democracy and human rights.” In my view, the development of China-Burma relations, whether or not it will be transformed, will depend on the following factors: 1) the life span of the military regime, 2) the development of Burma-ASEAN relationship, and 3) the policies of the UN, USA, UK, EU and India towards Burma after the assassination of the Japanese journalist and Burma’s crackdown. Certainly, the USA, UK, EU and other Western democratic countries have been dissatisfied with Burma’s military government for a long period of time. If the military government fails to properly handle this situation, these Western countries will not exclude the possibility of using international force to eliminate the legitimacy of Burma’s junta, and China’s attitude towards Burma might change due to this influence.


backhandpath said...

Hi, thank you for this article on the China / Burma incest.
Would you please write another article on China's Internet Hacking sites worldwide regarding the crackdown in Burma, and also in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics which are set to open at exactly 8:08pm/8/08/08, 20 years to the day since the brutal massacre in Burma on 8/08/88.

I posted your article in "What's New" on the Burma News Ladder, where I am an editor.
Please check it out and join in one of the largest Human aggregated news sites for all articles about Burma.
Thank you again for giving tyranny no where to hide.

Dr. T said...

Thank you very much! We pay close attention to what's happening in Burma and also support the Burmese who strive and fight for freedom and democracy. We will continue to focus on this issue and keep posting related articles and commentaries.

--Always stand with the Burmese protesters

Aishy said...

Hi Dr. T

I would like to ask your opinion on something. Im from Singapore and Im doing a research paper for my GCE 'A'levels.

"China's economic aid to Burma is only for its own self-interest"

It is a subjective matter and I would really appreciate your input on this.

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