Posted by: mulrickillion | December 20, 2011

Burma and China: The Beginning of the End of Business as Usual?


The Unexpected Leader, Burmese President Thein Sein.

By Ian Story, China Brief, Vol. 11, Iss. 22, Nov 30, 2011 —

The introduction of a slew of economic reforms and political initiatives by the Burmese government in the second half of 2011 have significant implications for the carriage of Burmese foreign policy. Indeed, the surprise announcement in September suspending construction of a major Chinese-funded hydroelectric dam is an indication that China’s privileged place in the hierarchy of Burma’s foreign relations―a position it has greatly benefited from since the West shunned Burma in 1988—can no longer be taken for granted. Nevertheless, even as these changes unfold, the two neighbors will seek to maintain close and cordial relations in recognition of inescapable geographical realities and to protect important shared interests.

On November 7, 2010, Burma held nationwide elections for the first time since 1990. Boycotted by the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), as well as armed ethnic minority groups along the country’s periphery, the international community dismissed the elections as fatally flawed and undemocratic. On February 4, the newly convened parliament elected retired general Thein Sein as the country’s first civilian president in nearly five decades. . . .

The Jamestown Foundation: Burma and China: The Beginning of the End of Business as Usual?


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