Making New Friends
The recent visit of Hillary Clinton to Myanmar must have rung bells for China. China that was already wary of Indian influence in the country has stepped up its diplomacy with Myanmar. But public resentment against mainland China is very high and it is time that Myanmar looks beyond a sole friend- ship and towards a more varied foreign policy approach that encompasses a number of countries. China has been trying to build a
sphere of influence to contain the India threat that has now doubled, following US interests and statements of continued engagement in the Asia Pacific region. China that remains suspicious of Indian and US policies in the region will only try harder to pacify bilateral relations with Myanmar. This was no more evident when following Ms. Clinton’s visit, China publicly and grandly welcomed Myanmar's visiting military chief, General Min Aung Hlaing.
China is in a weak position and Myanmar has attracted much global concern and involvement due to its political reforms. Though still under military rule, the country now has the opportunity to flex some diplomatic muscles and build reliable alliances with the rest of the world. It must hold its fort and refrain from succumbing to Chinese influence. Michael Zenko Sacramento, US