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Beijing wants instability in Myanmar: Southeast Asia expert Bertil Lintner China-Myanmar
File image by VOA Burmese via Wikimedia Commons

Beijing wants instability in Myanmar: Southeast Asia expert Bertil Lintner

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 06 Jul 2022, 12:01 am

New Delhi: Veteran journalist and regional expert Bertil Lintner on Monday said that China wants instability in Myanmar, and wishes to remain a major controlling player in the politics of the Southeast Asian country.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Myanmar on Saturday to attend a regional conference that the opposition views as a "violation of peace efforts". 

For his first visit since the military seized power in Myanmar ousting the elected government, Chinese FM Wang Yi will look to secure Beijing’s long-term interests.

Rights groups say that the overall human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorated after the Myanmar military staged a coup on February 1, 2021 and ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government.

While answering a question about what role Beijing will be looking to play amid the ongoing unrest in Myanmar, Lintner told ANI that China is certainly playing a role in Myanmar, but he wouldn’t call it ‘constructive’. 

He argued that the Chinese feel comfortable with having the military in power, but they are also playing games at different levels.

“China is certainly playing a role in Myanmar, but I wouldn’t call it constructive….the Chinese feel comfortable with having the military in power, but they are also playing games on different levels, for instance by supporting the United Wa State Army which, in turn, sends Chinese-made weapons to Kokang, Shan and Palaung rebel armies,” Lintner told ANI.

“It’s often argued that the Chinese are interested in stability and abhor chaos. It may be true that they don’t want chaos, but a certain degree of instability, and then instability which they control, serves their long-term interests: to be a major, controlling player in Myanmar politics,” the Southeast Asia expert said.

"In post-coup Myanmar, southeast experts believe that China’s main interest in Myanmar is geostrategic," said Lintner, adding that "It is not in India’s interest to see the emergence of a Chinese client state on its eastern border (it’s enough with Pakistan in the west)."

The expert stressed that India should play a more proactive role in Myanmar because it’s in New Delhi’s interest to do so.

India, which shares an approximately 1,700-kilometre-long border with Myanmar, had emphasized the need for Myanmar’s return to democracy at the earliest.

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