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China-Burma-US relations

Individual Documents

Title: China, the United States and the Kachin Conflict
Date of publication: January 2014
Description/subject: KEY FINDINGS: 1. The prolonged Kachin conflict is a major obstacle to Myanmar’s national reconciliation and a challenging test for the democratization process. 2. The KIO and the Myanmar government differ on the priority between the cease-fire and the political dialogue. Without addressing this difference, the nationwide peace accord proposed by the government will most likely lack the KIO’s participation. 3. The disagreements on terms have hindered a formal cease-fire. In addition, the existing economic interest groups profiting from the armed conflict have further undermined the prospect for progress. 4. China intervened in the Kachin negotiations in 2013 to protect its national interests. A crucial motivation was a concern about the “internationalization” of the Kachin issue and the potential US role along the Chinese border. 5. Despite domestic and external pressure, the US has refrained from playing a formal and active role in the Kachin conflict. The need to balance the impact on domestic politics in Myanmar and US-China relations are factors in US policy. 6.A The US has attempted to discuss various options of cooperation with China on the Kachin issue. So far, such attempts have not been accepted by China.
Author/creator: Yun Sun
Language: English
Source/publisher: Stimson Center (Great Powers and the Changing Myanmar - Issue Brief No. 2)
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.stimson.org/images/uploads/research-pdfs/Myanmar_Issue_Brief_No_2_Jan_2014_WEB.pdf
Date of entry/update: 23 January 2014


Title: Myanmar morphs to US-China battlefield
Date of publication: 02 May 2013
Description/subject: "...A new reality is emerging amid all the hype about Myanmar's democratization process and moves to liberalize its political landscape. Myanmar's drift away from a tight relationship with China towards closer links with the West is signaling the emergence of a new focal point of confrontation in Asia, one where the interests of Washington and Beijing are beginning to collide. Rather than being on a path to democracy, Myanmar may find itself instead in the middle of a dangerous and potentially volatile superpower rivalry. That means the traditionally powerful military may not be in the mood to give up its dominant role in politics and society any time soon. According to sources in Washington, US President Barack Obama's administration has made Myanmar one of its top foreign policy priorities. Trade and other exchanges are being encouraged, and, on April 25, acting US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Joseph Yun told Congress the administration is even "looking at ways to support nascent military engagement" with Myanmar as a way of encouraging "further political reforms"..."
Author/creator: Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 May 2013


Title: China counter-pivots on Myanmar
Date of publication: 18 March 2013
Description/subject: "A quiet, modulated dance is being played out in Myanmar. It is not a waltz, with its rhythmical, proper movements, and only on the surface are events in Myanmar equally decorous. If China and the United States are the dancers, then Myanmar is the master of ceremonies. Underlying this proper facade rivalries are apparent. When and how the music will stop is unclear. The US explicitly has ''pivoted'' toward Asia, and more specifically Southeast Asia. It has in a sense returned after years of inattention. This policy has several elements: some enhanced naval capacity in the region, a couple of thousand marines in China counter-pivots on Myanmar By David I Steinberg WASHINGTON - A quiet, modulated dance is being played out in Myanmar. It is not a waltz, with its rhythmical, proper movements, and only on the surface are events in Myanmar equally decorous. If China and the United States are the dancers, then Myanmar is the master of ceremonies. Underlying this proper facade rivalries are apparent. When and how the music will stop is unclear. The US explicitly has ''pivoted'' toward Asia, and more specifically Southeast Asia. It has in a sense returned after years of inattention. This policy has several elements: some enhanced naval capacity in the region, a couple of thousand marines in Australia, increased positive involvement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and allies in the Philippines and Thailand as well as near-ally Singapore, and concerns over Chinese claims of sovereignty of the South China Sea. But in this equation, China regards with suspicion the US's changed, positive policy toward Myanmar, also known as Burma. Chinese concerns are evident. This, they claim, is the second US containment policy of China. The first was during the Cold War, but this second is in some sense more urgent. China during the Cold War was struck by the internally destructive forces of the Cultural Revolution. It tried to project Maoist thought through its embassies overseas, but this was internal political rhetoric, not external reality..."
Author/creator: David I Steinberg
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 31 May 2013


Title: Myanmar: Now a Site for Sino–US Geopolitical Competition?
Date of publication: November 2012
Description/subject: CONCLUSION: "As the Obama administration is keen to support Thein Sein’s dual project of political reconciliation and economic reforms, with China’s rise clearly in mind, the geopolitical competition over Myanmar between Washington and Beijing is set to intensify. The present US role in Myanmar’s political and economic reforms will in all likelihood lead in the future to a greatly expanded presence in the country. By comparison, China’s often much exaggerated political hold over Naypyidaw has taken a knock with US-Myanmar rapprochement. Its significant economic presence in Myanmar will continue, however. Significantly, far from pulling back, the Chinese leadership also seems eager to continue to boost the bilateral relationship with Naypyidaw, which will probably prompt more rounds of competition for greater influence between Beijing and Washington concerning Myanmar. By normalising relations with Washington, Naypyidaw will have gone some way to restoring the balance historically favoured in Myanmar’s external relations. To progress with its domestic reform agenda, the Thein Sein government seems committed both to warmer relations with Washington as well as pursuing the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership it agreed with China. However, evidence suggests that the Thein Sein government knows it will need to carefully manage the attention and interest from both Beijing and Washington. Finally, one should not assume that developments in Myanmar over the next three years will necessarily amount to an entirely smooth political transition. So far the NLD has been the major beneficiary in party political terms from the present process of reconciliation long urged by Washington. With the political future of representatives and officials of the previous regime possibly in doubt, there is at least the question over how much internal pressure the President will yet face and be able to resist regarding a possible recalibration of the current political course and concessions in the name of national reconciliation. In turn, the resulting decisions of this process are likely to affect Nypyidaw’s relationship with Washington and Beijing."
Author/creator: Jürgen Haacke
Language: English
Source/publisher: London School of Economics (LSE)
Format/size: pdf (326K)
Alternate URLs: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/IDEAS/publications/reports/SR015.aspx
Date of entry/update: 31 May 2013


Title: China's new leaders on a tightrope
Date of publication: 12 September 2012
Description/subject: "...America bids to remove Myanmar from China's sphere of influence and intervenes in the Spratly Islands dispute. Whilst not totally out of the blue, the visit to Myanmar by Hillary Clinton, the United States Secretary of State, in November 2011, came as a surprise to many Chinese leaders. Notwithstanding the quasi-democratic election of Myanmar's new president, Thein Sein, supported by the military junta, the country had in fact failed to make much headway on humanitarian issues. The dissident Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was still under house arrest and a true democratic system, which for 20 years had been the official reason for American hostility towards Myanmar, had not yet been implemented. So why did the United States rush to support a junta which for decades it had heavily berated? In 1972, with Richard Nixon's Beijing visit, the Chinese had had first-hand experience of such political gyrations. In that period, the Americans had rehabilitated China in order to isolate Vietnam and at the same time strike a formidable blow against the Soviet Union, which would find itself with one more declared adversary on its southern border, and, what is more, an adversary supported by the United States. Just as in the 1970s when the United States used China to isolate the USSR, now they were going to play the Myanmar card in order to complete the encirclement of China. This was the logical conclusion that the Chinese leaders came to in light of their past political experience. In reality, this paradigm change was not totally unexpected. At the beginning of his presidency, in 2009, in his dealings with the Chinese, Barack Obama had gone out on a limb, quietly downplaying human rights issues and even offering to sell them sensitive technology..."
Author/creator: Francesco Sisci
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 May 2013


Title: China keeps wary eye on U.S.-Burma relations
Date of publication: 04 November 2009
Description/subject: China is concerned over the possibility of betterment of relations between the U.S. and Burma, local sources say. The Chinese government's security agents on the Sino-Burma, say that China feels betterment of relations between the U.S. and Burma will threaten the national security of communist China.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma News International
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 October 2010


Title: Playing with Superpowers
Date of publication: November 2009
Description/subject: Burma’s generals have a history of juggling relations with Washington and Beijing... "If ever the Burmese regime made it clear it preferred “Made in America” to “Made in China,” it would be no surprise to see relations between China and Burma suffer a severe hiccup. China is now keenly observing Washington’s new policy toward the Burmese regime and Burma’s opposition movement. At the same time, Beijing is observing the unpredictable Naypyidaw regime’s paukphaw (kinship) commitment to China. Burma’s former dictator, Ne Win, (left) met then US President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. Burmese military officers used Western weapons to counter Chinese-backed insurgents in the past. They have long memories of Chinese chauvinism and Beijing’s efforts to export communism to Burma and install a government sympathetic to Mao Zedong’s communist ideology. Those days are long gone. China became Burma’s staunchest ally after the regime brutally crushed the pro-democracy uprising in 1988. For the past 21 years, China has adopted its paukphaw policy toward Burma and played an influential role there..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 8
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=17143
Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010


Title: LOOKING AT THE NEXT 30 YEARS OF THE U.S.-CHINA RELATIONSHIP
Date of publication: 06 January 2009
Description/subject: "...As evidenced by Chinese policies toward pariah states like Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma and Iran, China is still willing to put its need for markets and raw materials above the need to promote internationally accepted norms of behavior. However, the possible secession of southern Sudan (where much of the country’s oil is found) from the repressive Khartoum-based Bashir regime, the erratic treatment of foreign economic interests in Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe, the dangers to regional safety and stability posed by Burma’s dysfunctional military junta,
Language: English
Source/publisher: US Embassy, Beijing, via Wikileaks
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 December 2010


Title: Prospects for U.S.-China Relations
Date of publication: 24 February 2008
Description/subject: "...China's cooperation on Burma and Iran has been grudging and limited, but real. We have been able to leverage China's growing interdependence and concern for its global public image into support for multilateral actions that further U.S. goals..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: US Embassy, Beijing, via Wikileaks
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 December 2010


Title: DAS JOHN DISCUSSES BURMA, SOUTHEAST ASIA WITH AFM CUI TIANKAI AND DG HU ZHENGYUE
Date of publication: 05 March 2007
Description/subject: Summary: "If the United States wants to make a difference on Burma, it should engage directly with General Than Shwe, Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai told EAP DAS Eric John on March 5. In a separate meeting, MFA Director General for Asian Affairs Hu Zhengyue stressed that State Councilor Tang "really worked on" the Burmese during his recent visit to Burma, delivering the message that Burma needs to respond to the concerns of the international community. DAS John underlined that the United States is worried that Burma is headed at high speed in the wrong direction. If it adopts a constitution excluding certain parties from the political process, the United States and China could be locked into a cycle of confrontation over Burma at the United Nations. DAS John and AFM Cui also discussed the United States' and China's overlapping interests in Southeast Asia. With DG Hu, DAS John emphasized the importance of Indonesia and discussed instability in East Timor, positive progress in the Philippines and the situation in post-coup Thailand. EAP DAS Thomas Christensen joined DAS John at the meetings." End Summary.
Language: English
Source/publisher: US Embassy, Beijing, via Wikileaks
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 24 December 2010


Title: Burma, China and the U.S.A
Description/subject: First page only, full-text access may be available if you are affiliated with a participating library or publisher.
Language: English
Source/publisher: JSTOR
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 12 October 2010