Is China’s influence on Burmese generals eroding?
Tuesday, 20 January 2009 20:57
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Though it may seem to many, including the international community, that China, Burma’s strongest ally, is the only country that can influence the rogue military rulers of Burma, an analyst said, China is also currently facing a tough situation as the Burmese generals are stupid and stubborn and do not do what they are asked to by their elder brother – China.
Mya Maung a long time Sino-Burmese analyst based along the two countries’ border in Ruili, during an interview with Mizzima said China is currently in a tight spot as the Burmese regime is stubbornly refusing to follow its suggestions.
Surprisingly, he said, China’s suggestions to Burmese military rulers include implementing an inclusive political dialogue with opposition groups, as well as to reconsider the constitution, which the junta had claimed was approved during a referendum in May.
“But the problem is China has its own national interests to think of at and they are not in a position to put too much pressures on the junta,” Mya Maung said.
According to him, among many economic ventures that China seeks in Burma, connecting a gas pipeline from Burma’s western Arakan state to Yunnan province and using the Sittwe port as a sea gateway, are crucial.
“China may seem to be endorsing the junta’s roadmap, but it is more concerned that there is some kind of stability in the country,” Mya Maung said.
He said the Chinese government sees that the United Nations’ initiative is ideal for Burma’s political solution as it has strongly opposed the Western nations’ way of pressuring the junta with economic sanctions.
China believes in engagement but would like a strong and stable government that would be accountable, Mya Maung said.
Currently, the United States and European Union has imposed economic sanctions on Burma’s military rulers.
Complimenting Mya Maung’s analysis, a secret document leaked to Mizzima reveals that China’s ambassador to Burma Mr. Juan Mu urged the Burmese Foreign Minister, during one of their meetings in early last year, to cooperate with the UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari and follow his suggestions on political reforms.
The meetings minutes between Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win and Ambassador Juan Mu, reveals that the Chinese ambassador had urged Nyan Win to allow Gambari to play a greater role by allowing him a tripartite meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and liaison minister Aung Kyi, and to allow him multiple-entry Visa to Burma, and to open a liaison office in Rangoon.
Juan Mu also said, China is endorsing the United Nations initiative and would be ready to provide necessary support to the special envoy Ibrahim Gambari.
But Nyan Win, yet another puppet Foreign Minister of the Junta’s paramount leader Senior General Than Shwe, refused the request saying a tripartite meeting between Gambari, Aung Kyi and Aung San Suu Kyi is impossible but assured meetings with junior junta officials.
Nyan Win, during the conversation with Juan Mu, also said Gambari cannot be given multiple entry Visa to Burma and the regime could not allow him to have a liaison office in Rangoon.
Juan Mu, representing the voice of China, however, told Nyan Win that China fully understood Burma’s situation and would use its influence to convince the international community particularly the diplomatic community in Rangoon on the junta’s planned roadmap.
Mya Maung said, though China wants to see a stable Burma, in recent days it has failed to influence the junta, led by Senior General Than Shwe, in many areas including its response to the deadly Cyclone Nargis.
“These are signs that China, though it may seem to be the only country with a lot of influence on Burma’s military rulers, are having a tough time with the generals, as they are forced to consider their interest,” Mya Maung concludes.