Tuesday, October 20, 2015

China aims to forge ties as elections loom

Yun Sun, bangkokpost.com

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Since the beginning of Myanmar's reforms in 2011, China has encountered new realities and challenges in the country. As a result of intensive policy introspection, China adopted a series of policy adjustments toward Myanmar.
Recognising the problems in its previous policy toward Myanmar under its military government, over the past three years China has enhanced its public diplomacy efforts in Myanmar, improved the behaviours and local outreach of its companies and diversified ties with different political forces. ...
China anxiously awaits the results of the elections next month. While China is generally confident that no president of Myanmar will pursue a hostile policy toward China or completely ignore China's preferences, it also recognises that his/her foreign policy will have major influence over China's interests.
Beyond the border ethnic groups, China's ability to influence Myanmar's domestic politics is limited. This generates a heightened sense of vulnerability for China in light of its vested interests and strategic pursuits in the southwestern neighbour. One thing is clear: regardless of the result of the elections, China will be keen on building a good relationship with Myanmar. However, if China's plan is met with less than enthusiasm by Myanmar, how China opts to influence Myanmar's policy will be worth watching.

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