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The People’s Republic of China and Burma: Not Only Pauk-Phaw

By: Bertil Lintner |

Pauk-Phaw was a term coined in the 1950s to describe the supposedly friendly and close relationship between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Burma. But despite such diplomatic niceties, relations between China and Burma have not always been especially cordial. China, a vast, mainly inland, empire, has always looked for outlets to the sea for its land-locked western and southwestern provinces. China will not easily give up its hard-won access to the Indian Ocean and Burma’s strategic importance to Beijing cannot be overestimated. As China sees it, it cannot simply “hand over” Burma to the West. The country is far too important strategically and economically to the PRC for that to happen.