China is strengthening relations with the junta in Myanmar despite international condemnation
Trade and diplomatic relations between Myanmar and China are normalizing in the face of fierce internal opposition and international condemnation that took power in February.
Beijing has strengthened relations with military leaders in Myanmar despite violent attacks on Chinese business interests in the country after the ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
Yun Sun, an expert in contact with the Myanmar-China US think-tank Stimson Center, said Beijing has already made a “basic assessment” that Myanmar is moving on to another long military mandate.
“I think the Chinese can see that this military coup is a success and that it is there to stay,” he added.
The recovery of state-level commitments and economic activities indicates a return to Myanmar itself conventional economic confidence About China. The country has used its larger neighbor as a buffer against international sanctions and divestment by foreign investors because they have announced plans to leave the country or modest projects.
Since the coup, 875 people have been killed by the junta and 6,242 have been arrested, according to the Association of Political Prisoners Support (Burma), a human rights group said. They were the country’s economy and public services severely interrupted through massive proclamations, within three months of the coup, and have been partially recovered.
The resumption of bilateral trade will arouse widespread suspicion among resistance groups against the coup that China was willing to support the new military regime.
The cumulative value of imports from Myanmar in China in the first five months of the year was $ 3.38 billion, up from $ 2.43 billion in 2020 and $ 2.56 billion in 2019, ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, according to official Chinese customs data.
Exports to Myanmar over the same period have not recovered to the same extent, however. At the end of May, $ 4.28 million worth of goods were shipped to Myanmar, compared to $ 4.56 million and $ 4.79 million in the previous two years.
In another sign of strengthening diplomatic relations, Chen Hai, China’s ambassador to Myanmar, met with coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and military commander-in-chief Naypyidaw, the capital, in June. In a subsequent statement, Chen referred to Min Aung Hlaing as the leader of Myanmar.
China was one of the countries that abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly last week, calling on the international community stop the flow of weapons To Myanmar and release Aung San Suu Kyi and other political detainees.
Beijing had good relations with the government of the deposed leader who was arrested dealing with multiple criminal charges. However, he has stopped criticizing the military, fueling the anger of the mass protest movement that emerged after the coup.
In addition to being Myanmar’s largest trading partner, China also has one strategic infrastructure investments in the country, including energy pipelines that provide a critical link to Beijing’s Indian Ocean.
James Char, a Myanmar expert at Singapore’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said many people in Myanmar still blame the Chinese government and business interests for their complicity in helping the military rule for decades before the transition to democracy.
“The Chinese, themselves, are very clear [public sentiment in Myanmar]”Said Char.
Attacks on Chinese-related businesses After the coup, an explosion occurred at a Chinese protective textile factory in western Yangon on June 11, local media in Myanmar, as well as junta-controlled intelligence services and Chinese state media reported.
Analysts say Beijing’s vigilance over the burning of Myanmar protesters would slow Chinese direct investment and restore the recovery of large-scale advanced developments that were part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Additional report by Sherry Fei Ju in Beijing