'Obama's visit to Myanmar could offer opportunity for China, US to work together' say analysts

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 17, 2012 10:30 hrs

US President Barack Obama's trip to Myanmar could offer an opportunity for China and the US to work together, even as Beijing eyes the visit with a wary eye, analysts have said.

Beijing is nervous that Obama's "pivot to Asia," a move to strengthen old US friendships and forge new ones, is a strategy designed to hem China in.

And Myanmar is Exhibit No. 1 in the case for such fears, with a nascent civilian government recently stepping out of neighboring China's orbit and leaning toward the West with liberal political and economic reforms in the country, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

However, Myanmar, an impoverished and ramshackle country, despite its wealth of natural resources, could offer an opportunity for China and the US to work together, suggest analysts in both countries, the report said.

"The US is trying to compete with China to make friends with Asian countries, but this does not have to be a zero-sum game," argues Liu Feitao, an expert on US policy in Asia at the Chinese Institute for International Studies, a think tank linked to the Foreign Ministry in Beijing.

"Burma could be one area where we can get beyond the idea of strategic competition," agrees Michael Green, head of the Asia desk at the National Security Council during the Bush administration. "US-China relations with third countries could be healthy," he added.

According to the report, while Chinese scholars maintain that Beijing has not yet reached a final judgment on the US policy of rebalancing its security emphasis toward the Asia-Pacific region, nor has it developed a strategy to deal with it, some officials have expressed serious reservations.

"The United States must ... convince China ... that there is no gap between its policy statements on China and its true intentions," Deputy Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai wrote in an article earlier this year. (ANI)

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