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Posted on Nov 20, 11:01AM | IANS
America cannot "squeeze" China out of Myanmar, said a state-run Chinese daily Tuesday, a day after US President Barack Obama visited the Southeast Asian nation and became the first US president ever to do so.
An article in the Global Times titled "Don't read too much into Myanmar visit" said that some have suggested that Obama's visit was aimed at weakening China's influence.
"Such assumptions regarding contests between great powers and the political changes in Myanmar over the past year added special meaning to Obama's visit," it said.
The daily said Myanmar's democratic reforms and opening up to the West not only satisfy Washington but are also in "China's long-term interests".
"Most ASEAN countries have democratic elections and relations with China are not hindered due to differences in political systems. Myanmar won't become alienated from China simply because of domestic political adjustments," it said.
The article noted that Myanmar's opening-up was "unavoidable".
"Sino-Myanmese relations must undergo some changes to adapt to this. But the changes will be limited.
"...China is the biggest neighboring country of Myanmar and has irreplaceable influences on it. More importantly, such influences are based on equality," it added.
Myanmar is becoming open to the West in order to maximize its national interests, but the daily warned that it's "unwise to replace China with the West".
"...Obama's visit may still have an eye toward challenging China's influence. But the actual effect will be difficult to tell. Obama likes to be applauded for his efforts in promoting democracy in Myanmar and this merits some reward.
"However, the US can't squeeze China out of Myanmar."
It assured that Southeast Asia doesn't face the imminent danger of war.
"The worst case scenario predicted for the South China Sea dispute is a low-level military clash. Washington is selling its military and political influence in the region, which is a difficult business. The countries in the region are more concerned with economic growth. They care about which country - the US or China - can bring them more benefit," it added.
It went on to say that economically, Southeast Asian countries are depending on China more than the US, and this tendency is on the increase.
"Obama is bringing USD 170 million in aid to Myanmar. Unless he can ensure aid is delivered to Myanmar every month, such small amount of money won't be a significant bargaining chip to change the China-Myanmar relationship," the daily said.