Cui Tiankai, China’s vice foreign minister, said he hopes the US’s renewed interest in slowly democratizing Myanmar is not targeted at Beijing, Reuters reported. “We certainly have an interest in what is happening in Myanmar as it might affect peace and tranquility in our own border area. As to why the United States chose not to engage Myanmar in the past few decades, but now chooses to, it is up to the United States to explain,” Cui said. Chinese state media and academics have expressed concern that the move by Washington is part of a US plan to counter China’s influence in Myanmar. China has become Myanmar’s biggest investor in the past decade, pumping money into infrastructure, hydropower dams and twin oil-and-gas pipelines. But Western countries are now easing sanctions following Myanmar’s recent democratic reforms.
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