Chinese Foreign Policy Term Paper
Date: Name: Topic:
16 Nov 12 Eric Tan Chin Cheong and Ong Chen Huei China-Myanmar Bilateral Relations
Research Argument & Questions:
Q1. In discussing the issues and dilemmas of mutual dependence for China-Myanmar Bilateral Relations, we argue that China should explore ways to improve, if not maintain its “Pawkphaw” (fraternal) relationship with Myanmar after its transition into its new government in 2011.
CC6204 Chinese Foreign Policy
Strengthening The Pawkphaw Friendship: Challenges of China-Myanmar Bilateral Relations after Myanmar’s Reforms
Introduction In 2010, China and Myanmar celebrated their 60 years of diplomatic ties establishment and underscored the key bilateral relationships between the two countries. China had been instrumental in the rendering of support and assistance in terms of economical and social developments. China also pushed for national political reconciliation and democracy while supporting Myanmar in safeguarding the country's sovereignty and stability. The ChinaMyanmar bilateral relationship had been built on the notion of “Pawkphaw” (fraternal) relationship, jointly sponsored by the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence 1 . There was a period where the international community (European nations, US and many pro-democracy nations) “abandoned” Myanmar. Myanmar turned to China as its “best” friend. China enjoyed close and even exclusively good relationship with Myanmar. It provided extensive aid and support to develop industries and infrastructures in Myanmar. It also supported the military regime, and maintained strategic and military cooperation with Myanmar. In 2011, Myanmar had undergone a major reform of their political system with fresh elections, release of Nobel laureate Aung Sung Suu Kyi and political dissidents, making waves of dramatic reforms to propel the country out from the last decades of junta rule. The waves of reforms had effectively re-shaped the foreign policies and engagements by Myanmar with the country opening up to the European Union, U.S and rest of the Asia powers like Japan, South Korea and India, the long standing close relationship between China and Myanmar would be put to new tests2. The exclusiveness of China's decades-long interests in Myanmar would be affected 1
Mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, Mutual non-aggression, Non-interference in each other's internal affairs, Equality and mutual benefit, and Peaceful coexistence. “From May 26 to 28, 2011, President U Thein Sein, together with a high profile delegation, paid a three-day visit to China, the first he ever made since his inauguration on March 30. It was during this visit that China and Myanmar leaders released the Joint Statement on Establishing Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership.”
CC6204 Chinese Foreign Policy by the new reforms and positive foreign engagements. As Myanmar will be taking the ASEAN chairmanship in 2014 and the ongoing disputes in South China Sea would be another contentious issue concerning the bilateral relationship between China and Myanmar. In this paper, we would discuss the mutual dependence between the two countries, the dilemmas faced in the issues of economic, security, strategic interests and foreign policies engagement. As Myanmar continues on its reforms and wider engagements with the rest of the world, how could China continue the fraternal friendship and further improve its bilateral ties with the new Myanmar government under its new Chinese leadership after the 18th People Party Congress?
Economic Inter-dependence Beginning from the early military junta’s rule in Myanmar in 1988, China had enjoyed very positive trade and economic relationships with Myanmar. (i) China-Myanmar Trade On the whole, the volume and value of trade between the two countries has greatly increased since 1998. From 2000 to 2009, Sino-Myanmar trade...