China’s Qualms Over Burma
Engage! continues to cover the #MilkTeaAlliance and the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. Check #whatshappeninginmyanmar on Twitter for the ongoing movement and events. The following article from Newsweek discusses China’s interests in Myanmar, which are enormous. China’s “Belt and Road” project goes through Myanmar to the rest of Asia. China imports millions of barrels of oil and methane gas from Myanmar, and sells its weapons to the Tatmadaw, the ruling military regime in Myanmar. China has a huge stake in what happens in Myanmar, but at the moment, is not revealing how it plans to respond, or whether it will intervene in what is possibly becoming a civil war.
The US, Japan, India and Australia have aligned in a coalition to protect their interests in the region, called the the ‘Quad’, the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, whose mission was to ensure “a free and open Indo-Pacific” in a thinly-veiled slight at China, which all four have accused of aggressive geopolitical moves in the region.” (Newsweek, 6-1-21).
I am not reproducing the article from Newsweek here for copyright reasons, but it is definitely worth a read, as it provides the global context and consequences for the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. It also provides some background as to the events in Myanmar leading up to the present conflict.
And if you’re not convinced that #whatshappeninginmyanmar doesn’t matter much to the US, just look at Michael Flynn’s remarks at a Q-Anon event in Texas, advocating for a military coup in the US, like the Tatmadaw in Myanmar. Suddenly, Burma is very important.
Michael Flynn, the retired general who briefly served as Donald Trump’s national security adviser before being fired for lying about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador, spent Memorial Day weekend advocating for the U.S. military to overthrow the government. A keynote speaker at the For God & Country Patriot Roundup in Dallas—a conference popular with QAnon believers—he was asked on Sunday by an attendee, “I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here.” Flynn replied, “No reason. I mean, it should happen here.”
Shaun, there is a key issue of China’s interest in Myanmar not mentioned in your post: China its seeking and intending to build, using many thousands of its own labor force, a deep sea port in western Rakhine state.