Iin a recent article, Du Jifeng, a scholar at the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, discussed China-Burma relations amid Burma’s political reform. Du expressed the belief that, although Burma is re-balancing the three-way relationship between China, the U.S., and Burma, China’s strategic importance to Burma in geopolitics, energy supply, and border security has not changed substantially.
In the article Du said, “Since March 2011, Burma’s new government has completed the power transfer and has been working on political reform. At the same time, the government of Burma began to adjust its foreign policy. The bilateral relations between Burma and the U.S.-led Western countries has been warming up; high-level leaders have repeatedly visited each other. Western countries have canceled or loosened the 20 years of economic sanctions on Burma. Burma has also changed its once one-sided foreign policy toward China and rebalanced the triangular relationship with China and the United States.”
“While Burma gradually becomes closer to the US-led Western countries, the bilateral relations between China and Burma have gone up and down on some specific matters. … Burma’s worry about the rapid rise of China is an important consideration in Burma’s adjustment of its diplomatic focus. Actually, in the history of their relations, Burma has always remained guarded toward China. The growth of China’s economic strength only resulted in Myanmar having more worries.”
Regarding China-Burma relations under Burma’s new diplomatic policy, Du said, “The main purpose for Burma’s adjustment of its diplomatic focus is to implement a diverse diplomacy and avoid over-reliance on the Chinese economy. However, the strategic importance of China to Myanmar in geopolitics, border, and energy security has not changed substantively. At the same time, China has significant economic interests in Burma and therefore will not easily give Burma up.”
Source: Sohu, April 2, 2013