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The vexing strategic tug-of-war over Naypyidaw: ASEAN's view of the Sino-Burmese ties

Das irritierende Tauziehen um Naypyidaw: die Sicht der ASEAN zur sino-birmesischen Verbindung
[journal article]

Chachavalpongpun, Pavin

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Abstract This article argues that ASEAN’s policy toward Myanmar has been predominantly responsive, dictated by China’s activism in the region. It posits three arguments: First, that the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, may have been a tactical move to convince ASEAN to award it the 2014 chairmanship and thereby consolidate the legitimacy of the current regime; second, that Thein Sein’s suspension of the Myitsone Dam was a strategic move intended to please both domestic and ASEAN constituencies; and third, that Myanmar’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014 will help justify the organisation’s past approach to Burma as well as accelerate the process of community-building. The paper argues that in spite of the growing interconnectedness between ASEAN and China, ASEAN is locked in a strategic tug-of-war with China over Myanmar. Myanmar has, on multiple occasions, played upon ASEAN’s suspicion of China by playing the “China card,” as I term it, forcing ASEAN to continually legitimise it through public statements.
Keywords China; Myanmar; ASEAN; conflict potential; conflict management; Southeast Asia; Far East
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Method descriptive study
Free Keywords Burma; community-building; 1950-2011
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 97-114
Journal Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 31 (2012) 1
ISSN 1868-4882
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works