While China has refuted rumours that it was involved in the Myanmar coup, the people of Myanmar are not convinced. Researcher Hein Khaing says instead of blaming the Myanmar people for being gullible and asking them to be more discerning about what they see and hear, the Chinese need to understand why negative rumours about China are so easily presumed true in Myanmar. Not only that, but the coup has also changed the Myanmar Chinese community's sentiments about their relationship with their ancestral land.
Contrary to speculation that China may have abetted or has much to gain from the situation in Myanmar, Hong Kong academic Enze Han says that it is actually the party with the most to lose. Moreover, any playing up of a great power tussle between the US and China only hurts Myanmar in the long run.
In January 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited several ASEAN countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, in an effort to push for collaboration in key projects under the BRI, and providing access to Chinese vaccines. However, Beijing’s passage of a new coastguard law has undermined Wang Yi’s outreach efforts. ISEAS academic Lye Liang Fook explains what is behind China's efforts and looks into its implications.
In Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao’s analysis, China’s strategic priority after the South China Sea is the Indian Ocean, and it is getting its ducks in a row by winning over key nodes such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The Myanmar coup has made it distinctly clear that while the West has been obsessed with Aung San Suu Kyi as a beacon of democracy, the Chinese have been steadily advancing in influence over Myanmar. More than any calls the US and their allies can make, it is China’s move, or not, which can have a significant impact.
With the recent military coup in Myanmar leading to the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao wonders how the US and China will act and if their stance on this matter will shape their future strategies in East Asia.
Beijing has pledged financing, materials, technology and manpower to build railroads, hydropower stations and other infrastructure projects in Southeast Asian countries under the BRI. But China continues to face enormous challenges getting projects off the ground in countries that need the investment most. US academic Murray Hiebert examines why.
Uncertainty over the Myitsone Dam project and the influx of Chinese into Myanmar have not gone down well with the people of Myanmar. ISEAS academic Nyi Nyi Kyaw examines the rise of sinophobia in Myanmar, and the factors behind it.