Sunday, April 19, 2009

China pays lip service to Burmese junta: observer

by Salai Pi Pi

New Delhi (Mizzima) – China, saying it wishes to see political stability in Burma, is tantamount to paying lip-service as it does not care for genuine change because its stands to gain with the military junta in the seat of power, a Sino-Burmese observer said.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday told Burmese Prime Minister General Thein Sein that it wishes to see Burma usher in political stability and national reconciliation.

Thein Sein, who is in Hainan province of China to attend the Boao Forum of the Asia Annual conference 2009, met Wen Jiabao on Friday, according to a Xinhua report.

“China sincerely hopes for Myanmar [Burma]'s political stability, economic development and national reconciliation,” Wen was quoted as saying to Thein Sein.

But Aung Kyaw Zaw, an observer based on the Sino-Burma border said Wen’s words carry little weight because China in reality prefers to see Burma stable under the current regime as it stand to benefit tremendously through its bilateral cooperation on various sectors including investment in energy and trade.

“It is just lip service. Actually they want to see stability of the regime in power,” said Aung Kyaw Zaw.

“China knows they will get more opportunities to invest and extract resources from Burma if the regime maintains its stranglehold on power,” he added.

Wen on Friday also called for enhancing bilateral cooperation between China and Burma on energy and transport network constructions, saying China will help Burma to cope with the problems brought on by the global financial crisis.

Aung Kyaw Zaw said, China’s current interest is to immediately implement the construction of the gas pipeline that will connect Burma’s Arakan state and China’s Yunnan state.

Besides, Wen is likely to raise the issue of ethnic armed rebel groups operating along the Sino-Burma border with Thein Sein, as it is a major concern for China along its border.

“I think they will talk on the issue of pipeline construction and ethnic armed groups particularly the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and United Wa State Army (UWSA),” he said.

Aung Kyaw Zaw said Burma probably will urge China to crackdown on Burmese ethnic armed groups to secure bilateral trade and construction of pipelines.

Nyo Ohn Myint, in-charge of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in exile said, China could be worried over opposition groups’ and ceasefire groups’ boycott of the Burmese junta’s proposed 2010 general elections as it could undermine its legitimacy.

“I think the Chinese government is worried that NLD and ceasefire groups are boycotting the 2010 elections,” Nyo Ohn Myint said.

He also said Thein Sein is likely to use his presence in Hainan to campaign for support of the international community regarding the election to be held in 2010.

“He will also take the opportunity in the forum to convince the delegates that the 2010 elections will be inclusive, free and fair,” Nyo Ohn Myint said.
(JEG's: who are the junta including in the elections? as the opposition is still being jailed, the junta needs not to convince us they just have to deliver what the international community wants and that is FREEDOM to all and the ability to speak freely without guns or gangs)

China is one of the few countries that have maintained friendly relations with Burma’s military rulers. In its support of the regime, China along with Russia had vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution on Burma in January 2007.

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