After the military coup in Burma, China’s influence will grow

Manfred Rest, New Zealand correspondent for Southeast Asia: “The greater the isolation and the stronger the West’s reaction, and the move away from Burma, the more willing China will be and the faster the breach.”

The military coup represents a major setback for the young democracy in Burma. The United States is already threatening to impose economic sanctions. Foreign investment is also likely to decline.

But this could push resource-rich Burma into the arms of China.

Rest says: The West, of course, is really horrific at what happened in Burma, with the imprisonment of the representatives of democracy and the seizure of power by the old clique. For China, it is of course very different. In the end, China does not care who governs Burma.»

«China had friendly relations with Aung San Suu Kyi, but also with the Old Guard, that is, with the army and generals. It is very clear that China supports the new rulers of Burma, as China did for decades. ”

It is mostly related to oil and natural gas. Oil is already pumped from the Middle East to China via Burma. And: Burma produces natural gas by itself.

With pipelines as well as planned railroads, highways and a deep sea port on Burma’s west coast
China has direct access to the Indian Ocean via Burma.

This enables Chinese tankers to bypass the crowded strait between the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula.

Western sanctions could make Burma more dependent on China.

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“I fear that Burma will now witness a setback to the old days. The country will close itself down and focus on urgent priorities to maintain power and seek a close alliance with China,” says Rist.

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