US-Burmese Military Cooperation
Intended to Suppress China
Translated By Jingman Xiao
23 December 2012
Edited by Rachel Smith
China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)
According to foreign press, America is preparing to establish military relationships with Burma in order to expand its influence in the country. As a senior official of the American Department of Defense revealed, the Department is currently in the preliminary stages of U.S.-Burmese military cooperation, which includes offering Burmese soldiers humanitarian aid, medicine and training in defense reforms.
There are already signs of U.S.-Burmese cooperation. The Thai Department of Defense has disclosed that the Burmese will be an observer in the military drill dubbed "Cobra Gold" next year, in which the Burmese observers will participate in the sessions having to do with humanitarian aid, disaster response and military medical care. The Cobra Gold drill, held by the U.S. and Thailand, is the biggest joint military drill in Southeast Asia and has more than twenty participating countries. From 1982 on, this drill has been held annually. The U.S. is including Burma, which used to be the imaginary target of the drill, so as to speed up the process of building a military relationship between the two countries.
America hopes to accelerate the military cooperation with Burma in order to separate Burma from China. For a long time, Western countries, led by America, have adopted coercive policies toward Burma and have had almost no formal diplomatic relationships with it. Burma's main diplomatic relations have been with China, and along with Cambodia, it has become China's most loyal ally and representative in Southeast Asia. Apart from the massive investment from Chinese enterprises flowing into Burma, China is also building an oil pipeline to free itself from being reliant on the Strait of Malacca. Burma is not only of economic but also incalculable political significance to China. This kind of intimacy is the last thing America wishes to see.
Therefore, America puts alienating the two countries on top of its agenda after its return to the Asia-Pacific region. It is trying to be on friendly terms with Burma, saying it would love to remove the sanctions on Burma and support the democratization reform; after Obama's reelection as president, one of the stops on his Asian trip was Burma. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also visited Burma and praised it for its reforms. Since the removal of America's economic sanctions on Burma, it was predicted that the U.S.-Burmese military cooperation would take place, although if it happens soon, people would be taken aback by its speed.
The military cooperation is the core of the diplomatic relationship between America and Burma. It would be impossible to build an intimate diplomatic relationship with only economic relations. If a mutual trust could be established, these two would form an alliance. For Country A to buy Country B over, it is key to control Country B's army, and that is how America treats Burma. Since the Burmese army used to look upon the U.S. with hatred, Burma would be thoroughly divorced from China if America could draw the Burmese army over to its side.
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