Anti-coup protesters hold placards when they protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Saturday, February 20, 2021.
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Political risk analysts said that China’s “laissez-faire” attitude towards the military coup in Myanmar may harm the Asian giant’s strategic and economic interests in Southeast Asian countries.
In stark contrast to the strong condemnation and sanctions by Western powers including the United States and the European Union, China’s response to the February 1
Gareth Price, a senior researcher on the Asia-Pacific project at Chatham, a British think tank, said: “Although China may be happy to deal with people who have power in Naypyidaw, it is becoming more and more obvious that the coup d’état The resulting series of events may threaten its interests.” The house said on a note in March.
Naypyidaw is the capital of Myanmar and one of the hot spots for anti-coup protests. According to Reuters, security forces have used more and more violent means to suppress demonstrations, killing more than 550 civilians.
According to the Associated Press, the demonstrators were angry at Beijing’s apparent indifferent to those killed in the protests. They attacked a Chinese factory in Myanmar last month. In response, Beijing urged Myanmar to “ensure the safety of the lives and property of Chinese companies and personnel” in Myanmar.
Kaho Yu, a senior Asian analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a risk consulting firm, said in a March report: “China’s frustration with economic interests shows that the coup has become a major test of the already complicated Myanmar-China relationship.”
China is a major investor in Myanmar, and Myanmar is a Southeast Asian country adjacent to the border. Myanmar is also an important part of the “Belt and Road” initiative signed by President Xi Jinping.
He said: “In general, Beijing expects its investment in Myanmar to contribute to its energy security, trade and neighborhood stability.”
The analyst added: “China insists that the economic slowdown in the neighborhood will lead to social unrest and security threats, which in turn threatens the political stability of China’s border provinces such as Yunnan.”
The latest data from the General Administration of Investment and Company Management of Myanmar shows that from October 2020 to January this year, the approved foreign investment from China was approximately US$139.4 million. Myanmar’s fiscal year begins in October.
Singapore’s investment alone exceeded China’s approved investment, totalling approximately US$378.3 million. The data shows that in the same period.
In terms of trade, China is the largest destination for Myanmar’s exports and the largest source of imports for the Southeast Asian country.
Priceham’s Price said that Myanmar’s importance to China is not limited to the economy.
He said: “The oil and gas pipelines in Myanmar diversify China’s supply sources and help avoid the use of the Strait of Malacca, which is a hot spot for piracy.” “And the development of ports and land connections between China and Myanmar The development of China will also help promote China’s greater presence in the Indian Ocean.”
China can help end the coup
Yu pointed out that Beijing has established friendly relations with the Burmese military and the civil government of the de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the past. He added that in recent years, the international pressure brought by the Rohingya crisis has brought Myanmar closer to China.
According to reports, State Councilor Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, said last month, “No matter how the situation in Myanmar changes, China’s determination to promote Sino-Myanmar relations will not waver.”
Price said that any feeling that China will continue to be Myanmar’s main partner, no matter who feels responsible, may be a “wrong judgment.”
He said: “If the military is forced to retreat, it may lead to more pronounced anti-China tendencies and threaten China’s strategic interests.”
Price said that instead, Beijing can help end the coup. This move may threaten their interests in Myanmar in the short term, but in the long term it may promote their development. He said that the Burmese generals have no intention of ceding, but will continue to stick to it without China’s support.
Price said: “As its global role expands, China should learn to distinguish between various types of authoritarian governments and judge their countermeasures accordingly.”
“China needs to realize that the’one-and-for-all’ non-interference policy will not win many friends, and anything it wins may be a less beneficial way.”