In discussions on Myanmar’s political reforms since the installation of a civilianised military regime in 2011, most analysts have focused on the bedevilment of bilateral ties between Beijing and Naypyidaw. To be sure, China has since become more attuned to the concerns of non-state actors with the opening up of Myanmar’s political space as well as recalibrated its strategies in the face of renewed diplomatic competition from other countries in vying for the affections of the Burmese leadership. In acknowledging the corrections China’s Myanmar policy has undergone, this article argues that Beijing’s factoring in of Burmese national interests and development needs can help enhance its prospects. While a return to the previous robust bilateral relationship may appear inconceivable in the near future, this article concludes that there is still hope for Beijing in overcoming the challenges posed by Naypyidaw’s political transition should it be able to keep up with the latter’s evolution over the longer term.
About the Authors
Chenyang Li is Professor, Doctorial Advisor, and Deputy Section Chief of Social & Humanities Science Research Affairs Office at Yunnan University. He is also Deputy Secretary General of China Society for Southeast Asian Studies, Council Member of China Association for International Friendly Contact, Contract Research Fellow at China Centre for Contemporary World Studies, Contract Research Fellow at the Chahar Institute, Academic Council member of China-ASEAN Research Centre at Guangxi University, and Academic Council Chairman of the Centre for ASEAN Studies at Guizhou University. Dr Li received his B.A. in Burmese language from PLA Foreign Languages University; M.A. in Burmese Language and Culture from Beijing University; and Doctoral Degree from Yunnan University. Between 2002 and 2011, he served as Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at Yunnan University and was promoted to Professor in 2007. In 2009 and 2011 respectively, he was a Visiting Research Fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore.He has been engaged in the study of Myanmar; the politics and international relations in Southeast Asia; and sub-regional cooperation amongst China’s southwestern provinces and their neighbouring countries. He has published more than 20 books and chapters as well as 150 journal articles in both English and Chinese.
James Char is a Research Analyst with the China Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. Mr Char received his B.A. (Honours) in literacy and differential treatment from Nanyang Technological University where he also earned a Distinction in Teaching Practicum. He is the inaugural recipient of the Wong Wai Ling Scholarship in the Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Contemporary China Programme at Nanyang Technological University. For his M.A. dissertation, he studied the role of the Chinese Communist Party in China’s rising nationalism in the past 15 years and investigated the party-state’s subtle but nevertheless significant role in shaping the country’s nationalist movement. Prior to joining RSIS, he was an Associate Lecturer at the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Ngee Ann Polytechnic where he taught a course on international affairs. Previously, he had also worked in a number of educational institutions in Singapore. His current research interests centre on contemporary Chinese politics; Chinese nationalism as a source of political legitimacy; civil-military relations in China; and China’s diplomatic strategies in the Global South.
Country and Region Studies / East Asia and Asia Pacific / International Political Economy / International Politics and Security / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 16/03/2015