Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Carla P. Freeman
Chapter 20: China and the development of Myanmar
As Myanmar’s largest neighbor and special patron before the country’s liberalization since 2011, China has played a unique role in Myanmar’s political and economic development. As this chapter will examine in critical perspective, China’s influence on the direction of Myanmar’s development has been significant. After an interlude of difficult relations during the 1960s, ties between the two countries improved steadily for four decades, and were enhanced in the late 1980s following China’s support for the legitimacy of the post-1988 military government from 1990 to 2011. Economically, China has provided large amounts of economic assistance, investment and foreign aid, to Myanmar. China also encouraged Myanmar to adopt reforms modeled after the Chinese experience and, in this regard, can be seen as a constructive force in Myanmar’s own decision to reform and open its economy. China has also provided Myanmar with generous military assistance.
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