Myanmar Coup: Challenges From The United States And Opportunities For China

2021-02-03   |   by CusiGO

Myanmar’s coup surprised the west, which encouraged the transition process. For many years, the West believed that Aung San Suu Kyi, the actual leader of the government, was one of its international political idols, while China had important economic interests and porous borders with its southern neighbors. Both groups now face a situation they did not expect, which may test their foreign policy strategy. On Tuesday, the U.N. Security Council, which is chaired by Britain, failed to reach a consensus on condemning the Beijing blockade coup.

In the west, military outrage has caused a chain reaction of condemnation. The European Union and the United Kingdom did not hesitate to refer to the actions of the armed forces as “coups”. The White House urged the military to “reverse the operation immediately” and threatened to take action against the perpetrators. At present, the new administration of US President Joe Biden has avoided using the term “coup”, which will force Washington to take a series of unilateral punitive measures. The white house seems to be more inclined to agree on possible actions by other like-minded countries, including the Security Council.

However, if the United States takes the lead in imposing sanctions on Myanmar and turns Myanmar into a pariah state before the start of the democratic transition process in 2011, the situation will be very different 10 years later, and its ability to exert pressure is limited. A report from CSIS creative lab points out: “although it has been open for 10 years, the role of American enterprises in Myanmar’s economy is relatively small.”. “Those who invest mainly focus on providing goods and services to Myanmar’s domestic market, which means that if they leave, the damage will be borne mainly by ordinary citizens. U.S. companies have been far away from the raw materials and natural resources sectors where the military sector is highly involved. ”

Yun sun, director of the Stimson center of the China thought lab, said the west “can re enforce the sanctions lifted at that time, can take advantage of diplomatic isolation, and can put forward a resolution on Myanmar in front of the United Nations.”. The other thing is, think about it, they’ll make it. “I don’t think the board has changed its position just because of Western opposition,” he points out.

If punitive measures are to be effective, they need the support of Myanmar’s neighboring countries, such as Japan or Singapore, which are the largest players in Myanmar’s economy. According to CSIS, Myanmar may not be very keen on punishment. As a major investor and trading partner of former Myanmar and a competitor of the United States, China seems more willing to deal with the new government than take retaliatory actions.

Beijing, which accounts for 25% of the former Myanmar’s foreign investment, has carefully developed relations with Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government and military, which have brought Myanmar back to an era of international isolation. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited the country three weeks ago, where he met with this lady and general min angliang, who will become the leader of the new military government. After the meeting, the Chinese foreign ministry stressed the “brotherly” relationship between the two countries, Beijing is just calling for stability.

“China will be happy to readjust the relationship to recognize the new realities on the ground,” CSIS analysts said. “This may weaken the impact of any US sanctions, and min angliang will certainly take that into consideration.”

According to Sun Yun, “whoever is in power in Myanmar must cooperate with China. In this sense, China’s influence in this country does not depend on who is in the government. ” During the period of civilian rule, Beijing cooperated with Myanmar authorities to establish the Sino Myanmar economic corridor, deep-water port and urban development project in Rangoon, Myanmar’s economic capital.

“China will continue to want to advance these projects. The only question is whether, with diplomatic isolation, international sanctions and the political pressure that Myanmar will face, can China push forward its proposed infrastructure projects as quickly as in the past? If not, it’s not because the military doesn’t want to cooperate with China. They will, but the international climate will be different, “the expert explained.

Beijing will also pay special attention to the situation in the border areas, where ethnic militia often clashes with Myanmar’s central government forces. At the height of the conflict over the past decade, some shells crossed the border; Burmese refugees sought asylum in China’s Yunnan Province. The Burmese armed forces suspect that China has ties with some of the militiamen, whose members have ethnic ties with the Chinese border population.