Myanmar

The ASEAN-China summit commemorating 30 years of dialogue relations was held on 22 November 2021. (Prime Minister's Office, Singapore)

ASEAN-China relations stay robust despite Myanmar's absence from virtual summit

The recent virtual summit commemorating 30 years of ASEAN-China dialogue relations was held without a representative from Myanmar, the second time in a month that Myanmar was absent from the ASEAN family. The Myanmar issue is likely to pull ASEAN on many sides in the days to come, but the fact that the summit went on and concluded with some deliverables speaks for the strength of ASEAN-China relations.
Motorists pass the China-Myanmar border gate in Muse in Shan state on 5 July 2021. (STR/AFP)

Will the Chinese government's crackdown on cross-border crime in Myanmar work?

In recent years, Chinese criminal gangs have moved to Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Laos and Thailand as China tightened its crackdown on telecom fraud at home. These gangs even have the support of local authorities in some cases. Now that the Chinese authorities are cracking down on cross-border crime, will the situation improve? Or will it be a never-ending merry-go-round?
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 28 June 2021. (Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters)

Russia and China in Southeast Asia: Pragmatic cooperation against US primacy

Russia-China relations are at a historic high due to mutual concerns over US primacy, economic synergies and strong interpersonal ties between their national leaders. However, despite deepening military cooperation and closer diplomatic coordination, a formal alliance between Russia and China is not likely as this would constrain their strategic autonomy and undercut key foreign policy narratives. The South China Sea dispute is the most complex issue and a potential fault line in Russia-China relations in Southeast Asia. While Moscow has been broadly supportive of China’s position, Beijing’s jurisdictional claims threaten Russia’s lucrative energy interests in Southeast Asia.
Rescue workers and onlookers gather around a wreck after a bus plunged into a ravine following a bomb explosion, which killed 13 people including nine Chinese workers, in the Kohistan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan on 14 July 2021. (STR/AFP)

Chinese researcher: How to protect the BRI and keep Chinese enterprises overseas safe

As an increasing number of Chinese enterprises venture overseas and the BRI project continues its expansion, Peng Nian notes the rise in attacks targeted against these projects. He says much can be done to strengthen the safety awareness of Chinese enterprises, especially as many of them operate in unfamiliar or far-flung locations.
Anti-coup protesters hold a Chinese flag before burning it down during a demonstration against China in Yangon, Myanmar, 5 April 2021. (Stringer/Reuters)

Why Myanmar people are wary of a 'pauk-phaw' (sibling) relationship with China

China and Myanmar are said to have a “pauk-phaw” or sibling relationship. Many people in Myanmar, however, are clear-eyed about the limits of the bond. Who are the true beneficiaries of Chinese investment in Myanmar? Why are the people protesting while the higher-ups eagerly sign huge contracts with China and other countries?
A protester holds a flare as others make the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on 22 June 2021. (STR/AFP)

Chinese researcher: Why China avoids taking a strong stand on Myanmar

Since the military coup in Myanmar in February, China has been criticised by the West for not taking a strong stand against the situation. Chinese researcher Peng Nian explains China's difficult position and its hope for ASEAN to successfully mitigate the problem. What China can do now is to assist Myanmar with the fight against the pandemic, he says.
Workers load boxes with Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac on a truck, the first shipment vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to arrive in the country, at Villamor Air Base in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, 28 February 2021. (Eloisa Lopez/Reuters)

Covid-19 pandemic and China's rising soft power in mainland Southeast Asia

The Covid-19 pandemic provides a window of opportunity for China to exert its international leadership and influence. It has managed to turn the crisis into a diplomatic and strategic opportunity in mainland Southeast Asia and elsewhere. Public health diplomacy has become one of the key sources of China’s soft power projection, enhancing China’s image and influence. Cambodia and Laos have been most receptive to China’s public health diplomacy, including its vaccine diplomacy, while Thailand and Myanmar also have welcomed Chinese assistance. But Vietnam has been reluctant to endorse China’s Covid-19 assistance, including receiving Chinese vaccines.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin Wall to mark the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Moscow, Russia, 23 February 2021. (Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters)

Russia in Southeast Asia: Falling influence despite being largest arms seller

Although Russia has been increasing its defence diplomacy activities in Southeast Asia, its military cooperation with the region remains overwhelmingly focused on arms sales. However, Russia is at risk of losing its position as the number one arms seller to Southeast Asia due to increased competition from American, European and Asian defence companies. Besides, Russian navy port calls to Southeast Asia and combined military exercises in the region are infrequent and small-scale compared to those of the US and China. ISEAS academic Ian Storey examines how Russia might expand its influence.
Protesters hold coffins displaying a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (right) during a demonstration in New Delhi on 3 March 2021, to protest against the military coup in Myanmar. (Prakash Singh/AFP)

Why the Chinese are confused by ‘ungrateful’ anti-China sentiments in Myanmar

Chinese academic Fan Hongda notes that mutual benefit is the real driver of bilateral relations, and expecting “gratitude” for maintaining ties is not the way to go. China would do well to rethink its mindset in international relations and the role it plays in the world.