Trade and diplomatic relations between Myanmar and China are normalizing, but they are facing strong domestic opposition and international condemnation of the military government that seized power in February.
Despite a series of violent attacks on China’s commercial interests in the country following the overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, Beijing has strengthened its relations with Myanmar’s military leaders.
Sun Yun, an expert on Myanmar-China relations at the Stimson Center, an American think tank, said that Beijing has made a “basic assessment” that Myanmar is entering another period of long-term military rule.
She added: “I think the Chinese can see that this military coup was successful and will continue to exist.”
The resumption of exchanges and economic activity at the national level signifies that Myanmar is recovering Traditional economic dependence in China.The country uses its larger neighbors as a buffer to deal with international sanctions and divestments of foreign investors who have announced plans to withdraw from the country or Projects on hold.
According to the Political Prisoners Aid Association (Myanmar), a human rights organization, 875 people have been killed by the military government and 6,242 people have been arrested since the coup.The country’s economy and public services are Seriously disturb In the three months after the coup, there was a large-scale protest and only a partial recovery.
The resumption of bilateral trade will aggravate the widespread suspicion of anti-coup organizations that China is ready to support the new military government.
According to China’s official customs data, the cumulative value of China’s imports from Myanmar in the first five months of this year was US$3.38 billion, up from US$2.43 billion in 2020 and US$2.56 billion before the 2019 coronavirus pandemic.
However, exports to Myanmar during the same period did not recover to the same level. As of the end of May, 4.28 billion U.S. dollars worth of goods had been shipped to Myanmar, compared with 4.56 billion U.S. dollars and 4.79 billion U.S. dollars in the previous two years.
In June, Chinese Ambassador to Myanmar Chen Hai met with the coup leader and military commander-in-chief Min Aung Lai in the capital Naypyidaw. This is a further sign of strengthening diplomatic relations. In a subsequent statement, Chen referred to Min Anglai 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 Myanmar also released Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
Beijing has good relations with the government of the detained deposed leader Face multiple criminal chargesHowever, it did not criticize the military and incited anger in the mass protest movement that arose after the coup.
China is not only Myanmar’s largest trading partner Strategic infrastructure investment In the country, this includes the energy pipeline that makes Beijing an important link to the Indian Ocean.
James Char, a Myanmar expert at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said that many Burmese still accuse the Chinese government and commercial interests of supporting decades of military rule before the transition to democracy.
“The Chinese themselves know very well [public sentiment in Myanmar],” Char said.
Attacking companies related to China According to reports from local Myanmar media, information service agencies controlled by the military government, and Chinese official media, after the coup, a Chinese-backed textile factory west of Yangon exploded on June 11.
Analysts say Beijing’s cautious attitude towards angering protesters in Myanmar may slow down China’s direct investment and larger-scale development projects in the recovery plan, which are part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Additional report by Sherry Fei Ju in Beijing