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The Chinese regime is encouraging Burma to foster better relations with Western countries, just before the US Secretary of State's visit to Burma begins today. But Chinese leaders are also pushing for closer military ties with Burma. Here's more.
The Chinese regime said on Tuesday it welcomes Burma to foster better relations with Western countries.
[Liu Weimin, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman]:
"China welcomes the efforts on improving relations between Myanmar and western countries on the basis of mutual respect."
The remarks came one day before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Burma on Wednesday. It is the first visit by a senior US official in more than 50 years.
Earlier on Monday, Chinese leader Xi Jinping met Burma's Commander of the Armed Forces, Min Aung Hlaing, in Beijing. Xi pushed for better Sino-Burmese military ties and promised to enhance friendship ties.
The regime's maneuvers come after US President Obama told Asia-Pacific leaders at the APEC summit earlier this month of the US plan to reinforce its presence in the region. Obama also announced plans to set up a military base in the northern Australian city of Darwin.
The Chinese regime finds the US plans daunting.
"The United States is now able to, as it has been able to before 9-11, to give Asia, which is the dynamic center of the world's economy increasingly, the attention that it deserves, and the regime in Beijing finds that very upsetting."
Another China expert, Director of Asia Program at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Douglas Paal, says the Chinese regime is, "trying to avoid turning the Obama tour into a zero-sum equation."
Friedman believes the Chinese regime is focusing on asserting its predominance whereas the US seeks China's non-predominance in the Asia-Pacific region.