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Beijing will not allow its interests in Burma to be “stamped on”, the state-run Global Times newspaper said Wednesday, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to the isolated nation.
China has long been the primary supporter of the Burmese junta and the military-dominated civilian government that succeeded it.
But Burma has surprised observers with a series of reformist moves in the past year — including shutting down work on a controversial dam project backed by Beijing– leading to speculation it is trying to diversify its foreign policy.
“China has no resistance toward Myanmar [Burma] seeking improved relationships with the West, but it will not accept this while seeing its interests stamped on,” the Global Times daily said of Clinton’s visit.
It said the decision to halt work on the Myitsone dam had brought “massive losses” to the state-run Chinese company that backed the project.
“This incident made some believe that Myanmar is showing goodwill to the West at the expense of Chinese interest,” it added.
US President Barack Obama’s administration, while saying it wants a cooperative relationship with a rising China, has recently gone on the offensive amid suspicions over Beijing’s intentions.
Obama recently announced the stationing of US troops in Australia– a clear sign of US priorities at a time of tight budgets — and has pushed ahead a trans-Pacific free trade agreement that for now excludes China.