After a press conference at her home in Rangoon, President Obama

moves to embraces pro-democracy opposition lawmaker and Nobel

Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Nov. 19.



Americans Have No Hope of 'Squeezing China Out of Myanmar' (Global Times, People's Republic of China)


Is the goal of President Obama's trip to Burma, called Myanmar by its military junta, to interfere with its longstanding ties with Beijing? According to this editorial from China's state-run Global Times, if it is, there is little chance of success, especially with the tiny amount of aid to the country Washington is offering.




November 19, 2012


People’s Republic of China – Huanqiu – Original Article (English)

President Barack Obama, in the first visit by a U.S. head of state to what is still one of the most isolated nations in the world, encourages the Burmese regime to continue down the path of political reform, and promises that if it does, the country and its people will have a friend in the United States.


VOA VIDEO: President Obama delivers speech at Yangon University, Burma, Nov. 19, 00:30:34RealVideo

U.S. President Barack Obama paid a six-hour visit to Myanmar yesterday. Some suggest that his visit was aimed at weakening China's influence there. Such assumptions about the competing interests of great powers and the political changes in Myanmar over the past year add special meaning to Obama's visit.


China's Foreign Ministry has expressed no displeasure over the visit, commenting that it believes that whatever comes from it, China-Myanmar relations would deepen. This shouldn't be dismissed as diplo-speak, but a reflection of China's confidence.


Myanmar's democratic reform and opening up to the West is not only satisfying to Washington, but is also in China's long-term interests. Most ASEAN countries hold democratic elections, and differences in political systems and relations with China have not been hindered. Myanmar will not become alienated from China simply because of domestic political changes. In fact, Myanmar's opening-up was unavoidable. China-Myanmar relations will have to adapt to this, but the changes will be limited.


There is absolutely no chance that bilateral relations will be entirely undermined. China is Myanmar's biggest neighbor and has a unique and irreplaceable influence on it. More importantly, such influence is based on equality.


Myanmar is opening to the West to maximize its national interests. But it would be unwise for it to replace China with the West. Both Myanmar's current leadership and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi are fully aware of this.


That said, Obama's visit may have an eye toward challenging China's influence, but its actual impact will be hard to measure. Obama appreciates praise for promoting democracy in Myanmar, and in fact, he does merit some reward. But the United States will find it impossible to squeeze China out of Myanmar.

Posted by Worldmeets.US



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Southeast Asia doesn't face imminent war. The worst case scenario predicted for the South China Sea dispute is a low-level military clash. With countries in the region more concerned with economic growth than anything else, Washington has undertaken the difficult business of pushing its military and political influence in the region. For these countries, the chief concern is which country - the U.S. or China - can bring them the greatest benefit.


Economically, countries in Southeast Asia are more dependent on China than the United States, and this trend is only increasing. Obama is bringing a paltry $170 million in aid to Myanmar. Unless he is able to ensure this amount of aid every month, this will prove a weak bargaining chip when it comes to altering China-Myanmar relations.


China must to adjust to increased American diplomatic action in the region, but it doesn't have to overreact. China's economic growth and growing domestic market will result in its becoming a stronger economic driving force in the region. That is China's greatest source of diplomatic leverage in Southeast Asia.


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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Nov. 19, 4:59pm]