In the New Myanmar, U.S. Playing Catch-Up to China

By Ian Storey, on , Briefing

Since assuming power in early 2011, Myanmar’s government, led by President Thein Sein, has focused its energies on the domestic agenda: rejuvenating the economy, liberalizing the political system and bringing an end to the decades-long ethnic conflicts along the country’s periphery. In tandem with these reforms, however, Naypyidaw has also endeavored to rebalance its foreign relations, with a particular emphasis on improving ties with the United States and members of the European Union, as well as important Asian neighbors such as Japan and India.

China, which forged a close economic and political relationship with Myanmar during the 1990s and 2000s -- a period in which it was virtually shunned by the West due to its harsh treatment of opponents of the military regime -- has watched the U.S.-Myanmar rapprochement closely, and no doubt with some nervousness. ...

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