China and Myanmar After the Coup

China has made the pragmatic decision to accept the coup, but that position is not without consequences.
By Yun Sun

Originally published in The Wire China.

Almost six months have passed since the military coup in Myanmar that shocked the world. Some observers initially hoped that China, for years the southeast Asian nation’s most consequential external partner, would use its influence to try to reverse the generals’ takeover. Instead, it has become increasingly clear that Beijing has now accepted the return of military rule. This apparent acquiescence raises several questions over China’s future role both in Myanmar and beyond.

For five months after the coup on February 1, China maintained a rather ambiguous attitude towards the junta’s legitimacy, refraining from official interactions with the new government. This period of ambivalence officially ended on June 8, when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a formal and public meeting in China with his Burmese counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin, who was appointed by the junta after the coup. The Chinese government clearly understood the political significance of this meeting and its implied message that it has now accepted the junta as the legitimate sovereign ruler of Myanmar.

Read the full article in The Wire China.

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