China in Myanmar: Complex Engagements, Complicated Relations

Policy brief

Nilsen, Marte; Amara Thiha; Ilaria Carrozza & Øystein H. Rolandsen (2021) China in Myanmar: Complex Engagements, Complicated Relations, PRIO Policy Brief, 6. Oslo: PRIO.

What are the implications of Chinese engagements in Myanmar for state security and conflict dynamics at a time when prospects for peace and democratization in the country are at their lowest in more than a decade? The military coup in February 2021 and the brutal crackdown by security forces on protesters and civilians have brought renewed attention to China’s complex and extensive engagements. Myanmar’s powerful neighbour is commercially, politically and militarily engaged in the country. This affects internal power dynamics, armed conflicts and the stalled peace process. China may be the one country with sufficient clout to put an end to the chaos caused by the coup. However, more political and economic pressure is needed to achieve such results.

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