The Straits Times
Published on Nov 09, 2012

Obama's Myanmar trip "no threat to Chinese interests"


BEIJING (REUTERS) - A landmark trip by US President Barack Obama to Myanmar this month poses no threat to China's interests in the South-east Asian country, a senior Chinese official from a key border province said on Friday.

Mr Obama will become the first US leader to visit Myanmar, the strongest international endorsement of a fragile democratic transition that his administration believes could help counter China's influence in a strategically important region.

Chinese media, academics and even a few diplomats have worried that US engagement in rapidly democratising Myanmar could threaten Beijing's relationship with what had been an important trade partner and de facto ally.

But Mr Qin Guangrong, the Communist Party chief of Yunnan province, which borders Myanmar and has deep business ties with it, said China was fully behind its opening up, especially as peace and stability there would benefit China.