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NEWS- Burma May Become Another Unwi (r)

Subject: RE: NEWS- Burma May Become Another Unwilling Province of China

       another factor to be kept in mind is that the US and EU policy of
sanctions to isolate and deny any kind of aid to Burma makes it much
easier for China to expand its influence.

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Rangoon Post Co-Editor [SMTP:Rangoonp@xxxxxxx]
> Sent:	Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:55 AM
> To:	burmanews@xxxxxxxxx; Burma Net-l @igc.apc.org
> Subject:	NEWS- Burma May Become Another Unwilling Province of
> China
> 1)Burma May Become Another Unwilling Province of China
> 2)A growing presence from next door spurs a rethink in Yangon
> Burma May Become Another Unwilling Province of China
> Rangoon Post  -  5/99
> Over the centuries, China has different invaded ethinic by force or
> passive absorbtion.  Then they moved on to border coutries now known
> as
> Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan.  All were invaded and occupied
> for
> varying periods of time.  Then in the 1950's they make a so-called
> treaty with the Tibetans and move in and take over.  
>   Now in Mandalay, Burma... the Chinese population has increased an
> estimated 30% of the total populus of Mandalay.  These arn't the
> native
> Mandalay - Chinese but Mandarin speaking Chinese from accross the
> border.  Accross the same border where another language and culture
> once
> stood. 
>   "Chinatown used to be just around 80th Street," recalls a local
> Burmese. "Now the whole town is Chinatown. The Chinese have bought
> property all over."   The human influx is but one facet of a wider
> expansion of Chinese influence into a strategic Southeast Asian
> nation,
> which has stirred concern in Myanmar and beyond. "Myanmar is close
> to being a Chinese satellite," says an Asian diplomat in Bangkok.
> ______________________________
> A growing presence from next door spurs a rethink in Yangon
> Dermot Tatlow
> WHEN THE SUN SETS in Mandalay, northern Myanmar, the money heads to
> the
> intersection of 30th and 66th streets. Bright lights, loud music and a
> lively crowd attest to the popularity of new Chinese restaurants
> serving
> grilled meat, fish and beer. Many of the entrepreneurs and customers
> there
> are not traditional Mandalay Chinese. They are Mandarin-speaking "new
> Chinese" - from across the China border or the city's emerging
> suburbs.

> Indeed, the presence of ethnic Chinese in Mandalay has been growing
> rapidly.
> By some estimates, they now constitute up to 30% of the local
> population.
> "Chinatown used to be just around 80th Street," recalls a local
> Burmese.
> "Now the whole town is Chinatown. The Chinese have bought property all
> over."
> Nor are the new arrivals just an urban phenomenon. After two years of
> flooding in southern China, many farmers there have moved across the
> ill-controlled border into northern Myanmar. Estimates run from
> hundreds
> of
> thousands to well over a million during the period. The virtually
> unreported
> influx is, as one Thailand-based foreign expert puts it, "changing the
> whole
> demographic balance in north Burma." It has also made locals
> increasingly
> unhappy with both the migrants and the ruling junta in Yangon. "The
> military
> leaders have opened the door because without Chinese support, they
> couldn't
> have lasted," says one dissident Burmese intellectual. "For that, the
> Burmese people can never forgive them."
> Even so, the influx is occurring in border areas Yangon scarcely
> controls.
> Most affected are Kokang district and regions of northern Shan state
> run
> by
> former insurgents now in fragile ceasefire accords with the junta. The
> guerrillas include ethnic Chinese of the ex-Burma Communist Party and
> the
> larger and well-armed United Wa State Army - both active in the
> narcotics
> trade. "The Chinese government was paying flood relief of RMB 20,000 a
> family," says a diplomatic source. "The going rate for a Wa guard to
> look
> the other way is RMB 5,000, while another 5,000 can buy identity
> documents."
> Typically, ID cards can be purchased from Burmese families in which
> someone
> just died, then altered and resold to a new migrant. In the border
> area,
> whole Chinese villages are springing up.
> The human influx is but one facet of a wider expansion of Chinese
> influence
> into a strategic Southeast Asian nation, which has stirred concern in
> Myanmar and beyond. Following the 1988 and 1989 crackdowns on
> democracy
> movements in both Myanmar and China, close ties - military, economic
> and
> political - developed between two authoritarian regimes facing
> international
> hostility. Attracting most attention have been Chinese military sales
> to
> Yangon, involving jet fighters, armored vehicles and naval vessels.
> Estimated at $1 billion to $2 billion in the past decade, the sales
> enabled
> the Myanmar Army to expand from 180,000 men to 450,000 today.
> But Chinese aid and investment have also gone into infrastructure and
> industrial projects, ranging from dams, bridges and roads to factories
> and
> ports. And China is interested in opening an Irrawaddy River trade
> route
> from its Yunnan province to the Bay of Bengal, as cheap consumer goods
> from
> the Chinese southwest flood markets in northern Myanmar. "Myanmar is
> close
> to being a Chinese satellite," says an Asian diplomat in Bangkok.
> Well, not quite. Yangon, worried by its dependency on China and a
> groundswell of popular discontent over Chinese penetration, is trying

> to
> pull back from the embrace of its giant neighbor. What was a virtual
> strategic alliance in the mid-1990s is now infused with a new
> wariness.
> The
> junta, says an Asian intelligence source, "wants to diversify into
> other
> areas."
> The first signs of a rethink came in late 1997, when the junta,
> renamed
> the
> State Peace and Development Council, instituted a new regime for
> border
> trade with its neighbors. Prompted by Yangon's widening trade deficit
> and a
> loss of hard currency and natural resources, the scheme sought to
> bring
> booming frontier commerce under government control. Among Myanmar's
> neighbors, China was the hardest hit. From November 1997 to mid-1998,
> the
> frontier was officially closed to much of the trade between Muse in
> Myanmar
> and Ruili in Yunnan. "Ruili almost died," says one observer. "A boom
> town
> suddenly went bust." The Chinese pressed the generals to reopen the
> border -
> which they did in June last year. But with new controls in place,
> trade
> declined from $659 million in 1996 and $749 million in 1997 to $400
> million
> last year.
> The row heralded a new prickliness in bilateral ties. High-level
> visits
> dropped off. When intelligence chief Khin Nyunt goes to Beijing next
> month,
> he will be the first Burmese leader to do so since October 1996. Nor
> has
> Yangon shown much interest in the touted Irrawaddy route from China to
> the
> Bay of Bengal. Floated in 1996, the scheme would allow Chinese goods
> to
> bypass the port of Yangon - long plagued by silting and shallow draft
> -
> and
> give southwest China a key commercial outlet into the Indian Ocean
> region.
> It would also give Beijing a strategic foothold there. "By early 1998,
> talks
> on river access had come to a grinding halt," says a diplomat. "Right
> now
> there's nothing happening." The projected development of a deep-sea
> port
> at
> Kyaukphyu, in which a Singapore company was interested, also seems on
> the
> back burner.
> Military sales have leveled off as well. In the past year, new Chinese
> tanks
> have been delivered and Myanmar has bought some Karakorum trainer
> aircraft,
> co-produced by China and Pakistan. But significantly, says a senior
> diplomatic source, the junta turned down a Chinese offer of a
> $100-million
> credit for military purchases late last year. Yangon not only wants to
> diversify its supply sources, says an analyst, but is "unhappy about
> the
> quality of some Chinese systems."
> The new skepticism is not one-sided. The Chinese themselves are
> increasingly
> frustrated with Myanmar's inability to sort out its international
> relationships or kick-start its floundering economy. Chinese companies
> and
> businessmen have been badly burned by their investments in an economy
> bedeviled by rising prices for essentials and an urban inflation rate
> of
> up
> to 80%. "The Bank of China refuses to lend any more capital to Chinese
> firms
> that want to invest," says one diplomat. Beijing was also miffed when
> Yangon
> recently considered giving the lease on domestic routes to Taiwan's

> Air,
> which wanted to buy into Myanmar Airways.
> India has benefited from the new tensions between Myanmar and China.
> Since
> 1996, New Delhi has been trying to improve its relations with Yangon
> to
> counter Chinese influence and curb insurgents from its own troubled
> northeast, who find sanctuary inside Myanmar. India's Border Roads
> Organization has been upgrading a route on the Burmese side of the
> frontier.
> And in late February, Indian Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath visited
> Yangon -
> the first such trip in six years.
> Still, there is only so much that India can bring to the table. And
> which Myanmar joined in 1997, has been beset by the Crisis and unable
> to
> provide investments that could have lifted the Burmese economy. Yangon
> may
> well be able to attenuate Chinese penetration, but for the foreseeable
> future, China's economic embrace will remain a fact of life. Equally
> inevitable but far more difficult to temper will be the continuing
> flow
> of
> Chinese migrants into northern Myanmar. Soon, that influx will be
> measured
> not in the thousands but in the millions.