Modern China-Myanmar Relations

Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence

David I. Steinberg and Hongwei Fan

  • Published:
  • Pages: 432 pp., maps and illustrations
  • Series number: 121

First book to examine the increasingly important and dynamic relationship between China and Myanmar. Using hitherto unavailable Chinese sources, it documents the shifting relationship over the years and highlights the policy dilemmas facing both actors as well as other external parties like India, ASEAN and the United States.

  • First book-length study examining the increasingly important and dynamic relationship between China and Myanmar.
  • Uses hitherto unavailable Chinese sources.
  • Concludes that Myanmar is not a client state of China, and their relationships have become more interdependent.
 

This volume examines the changing relations between China and Burma/Myanmar since Burmese independence in 1948 and the formation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Using Chinese sources, it documents the negotiations and settlement of outstanding issues such as the border demarcation, the Chinese Nationalist forces in Burma, the status of the overseas Chinese residents, and the Burma Communist Party.

The study documents the Sino-Burmese riots of 1967, the improvement of relations, culminating in the close bilateral association since 1988–89. It analyses in detail Myanmar’s changing role in Chinese strategy, concentrating on trade and investment relations, oil, gas, hydroelectric power, natural resources and improved transportation. It outlines military cooperation, narcotics control, and migration while emphasizing Indian and ASEAN concerns and responses.

The volume outlines a set of policy dilemmas facing the central and provincial Chinese authorities, the Myanmar government and Burmese ethnic minorities, while analysing dilemmas for the United States, India, ASEAN and Japan in responding to the changed interdependent Sino-Burmese relationship.

 

author image not supplied

David I. Steinberg is Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

David I. Steinberg is Distinguished Professor of Asian Studies at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. Formerly a Representative of the Asia Foundation in Korea, he has had a distinguished professional career and published extensively on Myanmar-Burma, the Koreas and the wider Asian scene.

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by Balázs Szalontai, Kwangwoon University
From journal:
Journal of Cold War Studies, Fall 2014

"This book, a breathtakingly panoramic analysis of Sino-Burmese relations from 1949 to the present, demonstrates that this traditionally neutralist Southeast Asian country occupied a more significant role in Beijing’s Cold War strategy than one would assume from the standard monographs on China’s policy in Asia, focused as they are on the battlefields of Korea and Indochina.

"This book, a breathtakingly panoramic analysis of Sino-Burmese relations from 1949 to the present, demonstrates that this traditionally neutralist Southeast Asian country occupied a more significant role in Beijing’s Cold War strategy than one would assume from the standard monographs on China’s policy in Asia, focused as they are on the battlefields of Korea and Indochina.

(…) The two authors of this book who endeavored to challenge these views by marshaling solid factual evidence are exceptionally well qualified to do so. Fan Hongwei of Xiamen University, an expert on modern Sino-Burmese relations, unearthed an impressive amount of hitherto untapped Chinese archival and oral history sources to investigate China’s policy toward Burma in the Cold War era (1949–1988). David I. Steinberg of Georgetown University, a distinguished specialist on Burmese politics and economy with previous experience in the field of Chinese studies, analyzed the post-1988 evolution of the China-Myanmar partnership, paying particular attention to economic and strategic relations.

(…) All in all, this book is a uniquely comprehensive monograph on post–1949 Sino- Burmese political, security, and economic relations. […] its skillful use of Chinese archival documents and oral history sources enabled its authors to gain unprecedented insight into certain disputed events, though more from a Chinese than a Burmese perspective."

by Nicholas Tarling, New Zealand Asia Institute, The University of Auckland
From journal:
www.newasiabooks.org

"One of the striking – and very welcome – features of this book is the utilisation of material from the archives of the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China.

…their work […] offers the basis for adopting more perceptive attitudes and perhaps more effective policies towards Myanmar and its peoples."

"One of the striking – and very welcome – features of this book is the utilisation of material from the archives of the Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China.

…their work […] offers the basis for adopting more perceptive attitudes and perhaps more effective policies towards Myanmar and its peoples."

by Robert H. Taylor
From journal:
Asian Affairs, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2013

"The book goes beyond China-Myanmar relations to further include the interests and policies of the USA as an interested participant in the evolving unequal relationship between China’s near neighbour and the wider world of South East Asian and international relations. The resulting more than 500 page tome lives up to its promise and more.

"The book goes beyond China-Myanmar relations to further include the interests and policies of the USA as an interested participant in the evolving unequal relationship between China’s near neighbour and the wider world of South East Asian and international relations. The resulting more than 500 page tome lives up to its promise and more.

[…] Modern China-Myanmar Relations will be an essential reference work for years to come."

by Bertil Lintner
From journal:
Asia Times, October 6, 2012

"…a new and original contribution to research on China’s relations with its southern neighbors.

…Steinberg’s and Fan’s new book is a worthwhile read for those interested in cross-border trade…

…It also coherently outlines China’s economic aspirations in Myanmar in a way that makes the volume unique."

"…a new and original contribution to research on China’s relations with its southern neighbors.

…Steinberg’s and Fan’s new book is a worthwhile read for those interested in cross-border trade…

…It also coherently outlines China’s economic aspirations in Myanmar in a way that makes the volume unique."

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