News Leak Centre

No Fear No Favour

Is China Backing Myanmar’s Military Coup?

Byline By- Vinayak Heliwal

World observers were caught by shock on Monday after the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s Military ousted and detained defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her governing party foreshadowing their seizure of power.

Well ,it is not yet clear whether it was an immediate fear from the recent elections in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League Democracy won by a landslide that have given the pro-democracy forces in the country the leverage to try strip their power from the military establishment or whether other events pushed Gen.Min Aung Hlaing into action.

But the most significant player may prove to be China as there was a meeting last month between China’s top diplomat Wang Yi and Min Aung Hlaing which may have been the pivotal point in determining the coup.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Media is reportedly calling the military coup in Myanmar and the replacement of officials with army men a ‘major cabinet reshuffle’.

“Myanmar military announced a major cabinet reshuffle hours after the country declared the state of emergency on Monday,” Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece Xinhua reported.

Under the cabinet reshuffle, new union ministers were appointed for 11 ministries while 24 deputy ministers were removed from their post, the military’s television said, according to Xinhua.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a media briefing in Beijing after being asked for China’s reaction to the coup that “we have noted what happened in Myanmar, and we are learning more information.”

“China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar. We hope that all parties in Myanmar will properly handle their differences under the constitutional and legal framework and uphold political and social stability,” he said

Wang also declined to answer the questions of whether China would join several other countries in condemning the coup.

‘I stated China’s position on this issue’ Wang said and reiterated Beijing’s stand that all parties should properly handle their differences.

The strange thing here is that Beijing has grown much closer to Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government than it was to the military government in the past.

Tatamada off lately has preferred to be internationally isolated to any dependence on a foreign country even a country like China who has a major partnership with them over decades. It was a fear of dependence on China that led in part to Myanmar’s decadelong accommodation of democracy and the suspension of major Chinese projects such as Myitsone Dam.

So perhaps it can be a commitment from Min Aung Hlaing to continue and deepen the relationship of s what made China hesitate in drawing a line in the sand in support of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Notably, China has a strategic economic interest in Myanmar with major oil and gas pipelines running throughout the country.

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