A senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday he hoped moves by the United States to re-engage with Myanmar were not aimed at Beijing, underscoring China‘s concerns about influence in its strategically located neighbour and close economic partner.
Chinese state-run media and academics have expressed concern Washington’s renewed interest in slowly democratising Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, could be part of U.S. designs to dilute China’s influence there and encircle China with pro-U.S. states.
With sanctions long blocking Western investments, China has emerged as Myanmar’s biggest ally, investing in infrastructure, hydropower dams and twin oil-and-gas pipelines to help feed southern China’s growing energy needs.
“We certainly have an interest in what is happening in Myanmar as it might affect peace and tranquility in our own border area,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai told a news briefing.
“As to why the United States chose not to engage Myanmar in the…
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