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Burma: a neo-colony China?

                       Burma : a neo-colony China?

The  military nexus between China and Burma is increasingly
becoming a serious threat to regional security. Ironically,
on  March  5,  1998  both  Chinese authorities  and Burma's
military government have disclaimed China's clear, massive,
but  clandestine  military inroads  into Burma.   Facts and
ground  reality  expose  the hypocrisy  and  double-talk of
Chinese and Burmese governments,  both dictatorial regimes.
For  nearly  a decade,   China  has helped  upgrade Burma's
pre-modern  military  establishment.  Not  only  has  China
continued  its enormous supply  of material,  financial and
technical assistance,  it has also provided direct military
expertise  to the Burmese junta.  Reportedly,  thousands of
China's  people's liberation army "PLA" personnel,  half of
whom  are believed to be  middle-rank officer and technical
experts, have been closely supervising military expansion in

In  fact,   since Burma's  military  seized control  of the
country  in  1988,   having  brutally  crushed  nation-wide
pro-democracy  students and  popular uprising,   the ruling
junta  has steadily increased its ties with Beijing.  China
(and  it was only China) was  quick to recognise the ruling
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) in 1988, in
a  prophetic gesture to China's  own historic crack-down on
Student  democratic protests in Beijing's Tianmen Square in
1989.  That fateful year marked the clear-out commitment to
long   standing  defence   co-operation  between   the  two
countries.   Erstwhile SLORC's  first external  state tour,
after  its usurpation of power and the consequent all round
the junta's Vice- Chairman, General Than Shwe (now Chairman
of  SPDC,   State Peace  and  Development Council)  and the
Military  intelligence Service Chief,  Khin Nyunt,  visited
China  in October 1989.  the highlight of the visit was the
Burma's  military regimes pledge  to buy military equipment
worth $ 1.4 billion from China. This was followed by Chinese
Prime Minister, Li Peng's visit to Rangoon in December 1994
Li  Peng's visit not only led  to a 400 million pounds arms
deal,  it also reaffirmed China's military support to Burma
and  an understanding to uphold the  Swe Myo Pauk Paw (born
together  kinship)  relationship.  All  these  amounted  to
China's  politically  providing a  shield  to Burma  in the
international fora.

In  fact,  Burma had signed  an agreement border trade with
China,   during General Ne  Win's visit to  that country in
1985. The agreement was materialized in 1989. To help boost
the  trade, and exercise affective control over it, Chinese
officials  secretly set up an economic intelligence network
in  Burma,   with major  agencies  at Lasho,   Mandalay and
Rangoon.   In response to it,   Burma constituted a leading
Committee  for Promotion  of Sino-Burma  Trade Relations in
1996,   under the chairmanship  of no lesser  a person that
Lt-General  Khin  Nyunt.  Rather  than building  up Burma's
economic capability, in terms of industrial and
technological  development,  Burma simply  became a dumping
ground,  a Starved market indeed,  for the Chinese supplies
production. The Chinese have flooded Burma with their goods
and  commodities  through  the length  and  breadth  of the
country.   According to  an estimate,   cross- border trade
between  the two  countries amounted to  US $  8 billion in
1996,   which is exclusive  of military and infrastructural
Chinese investment.  Hence,  an economist has remarked that
Burma  was last  becoming an  economic satellite  of China.

China's   building   of  infrastructure,    which  involves
upgrading  routes and  ports,  in  Burma betrays  the giant
country's   long  term  design  in  the  hands  of  Chinese
contractors  and companies with  Chinese engineers directly
supervising  implementation of  major projects  such as the
Rangoon-Mandalay  Highways,   Rangoon-Mandala  rail  track,
Myitkyina-Mandaly railways, Mandalay international
airport,   Pegu  (now called  Bago)  international airport,
several  bridges over Irrawaddy and  Chindwin rivers and so
on. Yunnan, the Chinese province, in the major spring-board
for  all these major  infrastructural projects.  Make-shift
companies   like  the  Yunnan  Machine  Import  and  Export
Corporation, China National Complete Plant Import and Export
(group) Yunnan Corp.,  Yunnan Navigation control Bureau and
many   other  large  firm  suffixed   with  Yunnan  play  a
significant  role in increasing Burma's dependency in China
Recently,   China has set up a  consulate in Mandalay and a
little  earlier,  the  SLORC (later renamed  SPDC) opened a
consulate  of  Kumming in  Yunnan province  both consulates
oversee the cross country projects.

In  addition  to road  construction and  renovation,  civil
aviation, railways and allied transport projects, China has
invaded the media and communication space of Burma in a big
way,   following  on  agreement between  the  China Central
Television  (CCTV)  and  the Myanmar  Television  and Radio
Corporation  in January 1997. Now, China's State run Xinhua
News  Agency  totally dominates  the  mass media  in Burma.

Dan  Robinson in report of Voice of America dated April 29,
1996, states "China's military has assisted in
concentration  of  naval  bases and  radar  installation on
Burma's  coast  and that  Rangoon  has granted  China naval
access to Andanman sea ports. "Even though both the Chinese
government and military officials have refused these reports
there can be no doubt about the Chinese grand strategic plan
for  military access  to Indian  ocean" China's  attempt to
control  Burma's  sea  routes,   ports  and  naval  affairs
started in 1994. The first major break through was achieved
when Burma's biggest dockyard,  Sinmalike in Rangoon,  fell
into the trap following all agreement with Yunnan Machinery
Import and Export corp in 1994.  China undertook to upgrade
the  port and the deal cost the Burmese exchequer more than
US $ 40 million,  meant for purchase of ships from the same
company  in Yunnan in 1996.  The most decisive,  and tragic
for the people of Burma, event has the Burmese government's
permission, in May 1997, to China to virtually take monopoly
control of Irrawaddy, the blood line of Burma, following the
signing  of an agreement with the Yunnan Navigation Control
Bureau.   Strategically,  this is considered to be of great
national, regional of international importance since, after
the  completion of the project,  China will be able to sail
freely  into  the  Indian Ocean  from  Kumming  Manse Ruili
(Shweli) through Banmaw- Mandalay and Rangoon.

To  quote  Dan  Robinson's  VOA  1996  report  again "China
supplies  the  Rangoon Junta  with everything..........from
tanks,   aircrafts,  To  ships   for  Burma  navy.  Burma's
military.....which  has grown  to an estimated  size of 100
Thousand....   has...  Chinese weapon and ammunition in its
fight  against  ethnic  minorities in  border  areas," more
recently  (Asian Age  May 8 1998)  British defense analysts
and  experts have confirmed" China is  setting up of a long
range  radar  station  on  Burma's  Coco  islands..." these
reports  are doubly  confirmed by facts  and reports inside
Burma.   A part from the (in) famous 1.4 billion US dollars
worth arms deal, China has reassured Burma, time and again,
to  assist  and later's  military modernization  drive.  To
substantiate our contention, we may point out the following
three recent major developments.

i)  The  Burma  junta  renovated  Kalaymyo  civil  aviation
airfield  in  1995  by  upgrading  its  signal  system  and
extended its runway to make it suitable for jet fighters. In
the  same year,  the junta  confiscated about 3000 acres of
farmland  in Ye-u township of  Sagaing division.  This vest
patch  of land was  forcibly taken over  from poor peasants
without  any compensation to them.   Now,  a new Airbase is
under  construction,  on  the occupied  land,  with Chinese
financial and technological support.

ii)  A reliable report conforms that the junta succumbed to
Chinese  pressure  to  allow them  to  utilise  three major
strategically located naval bases,  namely Danyawaddy (near
Sittwe, Arakan State), Coco Islands and Zadethyi (near Cape
of Victoria ) All the three have radar facilities, in fact,
in  Coco island a 150 ft high antenna has been installed by
the Chinese.

iii)  Most importantly,  Burma army has received US dollars
58 billion worth of communication equipment for defense use.
The  comprise advance  radio and radar  sets to  be used on
Burma  said  under  the guidance  of  Chinese  experts.  As
present, Chinese instructors are imparting technical course
for  Burma army  personnel at  the Central  Signal Training
School in May- myo (now Pyin U Lwin) and the Signal Training
School  in Taunggoo. In December 1996, 300 Burmese Airforce
and  Navy  officers  left  or  China  to  receive  advanced
technical  Training under the Chinese PLA's staff colleges.
All  these are part  or a agreement  reached during Burma's
Chief of Army and SLORC's Vice Chairman, General Maung Aye's
secret visit to China in October 1996.

The  above is sufficient  to prove the  nexus between Burma
and  China,   a  nexus  and that  suits  China's  long term
strategic  plan in the region.   We have greater details to
prove  this nexus  and we  will do  so when  required it is
important  to see the implications  of Chinese virtual take
over  of  all  crucial sectors  of  Burma's  economy ,media
surface  and air  transport,  naval and  airforce bases and
the consumer market not only in terms of regional security,
but  for  us,  in  terms  of Burma's  sovereignty  and self
respect.    Aren't  we  becoming  a  neo-colony  of  China?

Central Committee
All Burma Students League.

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