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China’s role in the pursuit of security by Myanmar’s State Peace and Development Council: boon and bane?

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This article focuses on both the opportunities and challenges that the People's Republic of China (PRC) presents for Myanmar's State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) in its quest for security. It does so in the context of significant external pressures on the military regime and its ongoing struggle to consolidate the state. The article argues that though Myanmar's military has successfully relied on Beijing for economic development as well as diplomatic protection against efforts to take the junta to task for its political intransigence in the face of Western demands for a more inclusive political process towards national reconciliation, Beijing's political support is actually more ambiguous than first meets the eye. It also suggests that China's links to the areas in which ethnic armed ceasefire groups formerly making up the Communist Party of Burma exercise significant if not complete authority have complicated efforts by Naypyidaw to impose its perspective on state and nation building along at least part of the Sino-Myanmar border. Rising frustration with perceived Chinese involvement and influence as well as strategic calculations about how to exploit potential opportunities have led the SPDC - in the run-up to the 2010 elections - to explore the possibility of improved relations with Washington and to use force in Kokang despite the risks such a move entails.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/26864/

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