As China rises, Sino–US competition for influence in East and Southeast Asia has become inevitable. China threat theories allege that the growing Chinese presence in this region poses multidimensional risks. One example is China’s expanding presence over Myanmar, its neighbour to the west. Politically and economically, Myanmar is much more affected by China’s rise compared to other countries in the Asia–Pacific. The majority of the literature on China’s inroads into Myanmar that is currently accessible focuses on China’s geopolitical and strategic goals rather than domestic determinants of Chinese foreign policy. Meanwhile, a relatively small body of literature concerns Myanmar’s demand for Chinese influence over its internal situation. Therefore, this article explores China’s operations in Myanmar to “supply–side” reasons relating to Chinese intentions, but it also reinforces these arguments by examining the “demand–side” factors within Myanmar’s internal development. Drawing a general overview of Chinese foreign aid, economic investment, and peace process that relates directly to a rising and substantial Chinese presence in Myanmar, it argues that the China threat theory may have been persistently overstated and that a relatively benign rise is much possible. This article contributes to an analysis of combining existing geostrategic and alternative explanations, which can help to create a more comprehensive understanding of Chinese engagement in developing countries.
Yasmine Yang, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
About the Presenter(s)
Ms. Yingying Yang is a research master’s student in Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland. Her research interests are public policy, China’s foreign policy, and relations between China and Southeast Asia.
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See this presentation on the full schedule – Monday Schedule