China–Myanmar Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership: A Regional Threat?

Chenyang LI

Abstract


This paper analyses the China-Myanmar ‘comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership’ in the framework of China’s diplomacy in the post-Cold War era and concludes that the partnership has no ‘significant negative impact’ on regional relations. China pursues its partnerships with Myanmar and other states to create a ‘stable’ and ‘harmonious’ surrounding environment, itself a ‘major’ prerequisite for China’s peaceful development. The author argues that China has not focused its diplomacy on Myanmar at the expense of other states; rather, he notes that in fact China established a ‘comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership’ with three other ASEAN states (Vietnam in 2008, Laos in 2009, and Cambodia in 2010) before it did so with Myanmar in May 2011. The article argues that the scope and depth of China’s partnerships with states such as Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are actually above that of its partnership with Myanmar. It also argues that Myanmar’s strong nationalism will prevent China from, for example, building a base on Myanmar’s soil. The author also asserts that China does not seek to use Myanmar as an ally to weaken or dilute ASEAN or its unity on the South China Sea issue.

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