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Myanmar better off in good graces with the West

Two developments stood out in Myanmar’s international relations landscape in 2017: The increasing Chinese influence in the country and the immense diplomatic pressure from international community on the government’s handling of the Rakhine crisis. Analysts cautioned Myanmar against overdependence on China for its development and urged the country to mend ties with the West to […]

Myanmar Goes Ringside at China-India Bout

‘China will go all out to help Myanmar in time of crisis. India will also help Myanmar, but it does not go all out,” was the light-hearted comment made by a seasoned Asean diplomat based in Yangon recently. He was referring to the behaviour of Myanmar’s two powerful neighbours these past months, which is providing […]

Belt and Road shields Myanmar from Beijing’s capital crackdown

BEIJING’S recent crackdown on outbound investments does not affect Myanmar because of its involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The sectors targeted by the restriction do not concern investment projects here, which are mostly infrastructure and energy-related. The Chinese government is blacklisting businesses which violate foreign investment rules as part of a broader […]

Beyond China: Nation must diversify FDI

While for a long time the world has been focussed on political reforms in Myanmar during its transition from military rule to a democracy, the country has also witnessed a significant economic transformation. The most obvious sign of this is the sudden jump in foreign direct investment (FDI), from US$4 billion (K5.46 trillion) in 2013-14 […]

The ‘Belt and Road’ Projects China Doesn’t Want Anyone Talking About

Kunming, Yunnan’s provincial capital, occupies a key place in China’s economic diplomacy efforts as the terminus of oil and gas pipelines from the Bay of Bengal and the starting point of a planned railway network winding through Indo-China to Singapore. But the provincial authorities have obscured the location of a brand new, 29.2 billion yuan […]

Myanmar’s remote Wa State suffers as fewer Chinese come to party

In a remote casino in northeastern Myanmar, China’s pervasive campaign against graft has taken its toll. Hundreds of local traders and farmers place petty bets as low as 10 cents, outnumbering a few Chinese who were once the VIPs of a gambling hall decorated with chandeliers and Renaissance-style paintings. “The business has been really bad […]

Myanmar’s Foreign Policy Rebalance

The country’s shift in its alignments is about more than just China and the United States. Myanmar’s new government is making its international debut. In mid-August 2016, Beijing welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi on her first visit to China since becoming Myanmar’s state counselor and foreign minister. This followed her trips to Myanmar’s ASEAN neighbors […]

As Suu Kyi heads home, solving dam deadlock remains key to improving ties between China and Myanmar

The improvement of ties between China and Myanmar still hinges on a deadlocked dam project despite Aung San Suu Kyi’s largely successful visit to China as Myanmar’s de facto leader, according to diplomatic observers. The suspension of the US$3.6 billion Myitsone project on the Irrawaddy River by Suu Kyi’s predecessor Thein Sein in 2011 plunged […]

Traders Call on Govt to Support Jade Market

RANGOON — Jade traders in Mandalay have collected signatures to accompany a proposal requesting government support for a better jade market, they told The Irrawaddy on Friday. As Burma’s jade market began to decline last year, traders called on the country’s leadership to address the market situation. On July 12, traders in Mandalay initiated a […]

China seeks ‘new chapter’ in first visit with Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

HONG KONG – China and Myanmar pledged to open a “new chapter” in their sometimes strained relationship, raising the prospect that stalled Chinese investment projects in the Southeastern Asian country could be allowed to resume. Aung San Suu Kyi, head of Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy and newly installed foreign minister, and her Chinese counterpart, […]