What China sees in Clinton's visit to Burma (Myanmar)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says her visit to Burma (Myanmar) Wednesday is to gauge political reforms there. But China is concerned it could be part of a strategic plan to fence in Beijing.
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Those ambitions have worried some southeast Asian nations, especially those that have territorial disputes with China over islands and waters in the South China Sea thought to be rich in oil and gas. They have welcomed renewed US involvement, and Washington’s insistence that it has an interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in waters that China claims.
Burma has no such dispute with Beijing, but its new rulers appear to be tiring of Beijing’s warm embrace and seeking to reduce the country’s economic and political dependence on its huge northern neighbor by cultivating ties with Washington.
Washington’s response to those overtures makes it “seem like the US is undermining China’s foundations in Asia one by one,” warned an editorial in Wednesday’s Chinese-language edition of the Global Times, an official paper that often voices opinions on the nationalist end of the permitted spectrum of public debate in China.
The paper’s English-language edition suggested in another editorial that “China has no resistance toward Myanmar seeking improved relationship with the West, but it will not accept this while seeing its interests stamped on.”
'To contain China?'
Meanwhile, the ruling Communist party’s official organ, the People’s Daily, published a strongly worded article on its website Tuesday by a prominent military commentator accusing the US of “positioning pieces and forces on China’s periphery, and the intent is very clear – this is aimed at China, to contain China.”
“China has not provoked US interests, so what are you doing running to Asia to encircle China?” asked Maj. Gen. Luo Yuan rhetorically in the article.
Such concerns are likely to be deepened by recent signs that the US, Australia, and India may be renewing efforts to create a security pact. Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd told the Australian Financial Review on Wednesday that he backed the idea, and that “the response from the Indian government has really been quite positive.”
China’s response to the suggestion was muted. “We hope that countries in the region will do more to promote regional peace and development,” was all that spokesman Mr. Hong would say on Wednesday.
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