Russia & China’s Veto on Burma and Politics of Double Face (Part-II)

The politics of double face of China in the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the issue of Burma’s democratic and human rights questions and thereafter her veto on 12th January 2007, is more related to her growing economic & trade interests with ruling military junta popularly known as State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) than the question of human values. After military take over in Burma by General Ne Win in 1962, over the years, the country has become more a colony of Chinese economic activity than pursuing an independent vision of national economic development. Before 15th of September 2006 UNSC resolution on Burma, in April 2006, China’s planning ministry has approved an oil pipeline linking Burma’s deep-water port of Sittwe to Kunming in the landlocked Southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, which would provide an alternative route for China’s crude imports from the Middle East and Africa as well as reduce her dependence on traffic through the Strait of Malacca. It would also serve as an important strategic conduit to transport crude to China’s populous inland provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan and the Chongqing municipality. (8) Even by the end of year 2000, Seven hundred fifty-two (752) contract agreements between Chinese and Burma / Myanmar companies with a value of 1.786 billion US dollars had been signed. And in the first ten months of only year 2001, Chinese companies signed 87 projects worth totaling 186 million US dollars in Burma together with China’s export to Myanmar reached 385 million US dollars and the imports from Myanmar achieved 113 million US dollars, tilting the balance of trade drastically in favour of China. (9)

It is interesting to note that, during Burma’s question in UN Security Council, military junta’s Ambassador to the UN – Mr. Kyaw Tint Swe defended his countries position on the pretext of significant economic development achieved under UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) programme and said that, “the draft resolution was based on ‘patently false’ information and council was clearly exceeding its mandate by considering the issue and his country was making economic gains.” (10) It is important to note here that, Burma enjoys interaction with UNDP since June 1993, through a programme known and coined as HDI (Human Development Initiative) in the areas of basic health support, training and education, HIV/AIDS, the environment and food security in twenty-three townships and six different regions & not into the whole of country. (11) Although interestingly UNDP’S current Asia Pacific Human Development Report, 2006 after thirteen years of interaction with military junta in Burma, still places once rice bowl of the world among fourteen economies of Least Developed Countries (LDC) in the Asia-Pacific region. (12) Moreover the myth of Burma’s economic development through ASEAN and UNDP interaction could be explored from the facts that, the junta’s claim of GDP growth of present Five year plan – 2001/2002 – 2005/2006 was targeted with an average annual growth rate of 11.3 percent and the performance achieved during the plan period was 12.8 percent, an increase of 1.83 times is far away from the truth. (13) Another myth in the areas of external trade, the junta claims that the balance of trade was surplus for the last four consecutive years beginning from 2002-2003. (14) However much cited UNDP economic growth and favourable balance of trade in Burma by military junta at UN & other regional associations and forums, has some different story in UNDP Asia Pacific Human Development Report, 2006 & ADB (Asian Development Bank) reports. The UNDP’s current Asia Pacific Human Development Report, 2006 economic data unmasks the myth of so called favourable trade balance and reasons of Chinese veto on Burma, which explicitly shows that, Burma’s / Myanmar’s export to China in the year 2004 was of US $ 207 millions, whereas imports from China to Myanmar was of US $ 938 millions and ending up as a negative trade balance of minus 731 million US dollars. (15) Moreover it also indicates that, military junta didn’t provide any data to UNDP in 2003 related with GDP per capita assessment and exports as percentage of GDP in the year 2003, despite Aid per-capita in 2003 of 2.5 million US dollars and country is severely indebted. (16) The sudden press conference to world media by Minister for National Planning & Economic Development, U Soe Tha of military junta on 17th of December 2006 at Nay Pyi Taw was nothing but to pick & choose some favourable economic facts from UNDP & other international reports to avoid impending UNSC action, other wise any economic data of any country does not appear suddenly in a particular fashion & month like December 2006 before international media, but it generally appears regularly with facilities provided to open criticism & cross-check facilities for re-examination?

In addition, ADB’S official macroeconomic assessment of Asian Development Outlook 2002 shows that, for the year 2000 in Burma / Myanmar, GDP growth is officially estimated to have been 13.6 percent. However, independent estimates suggest that growth was much more modest possibly 06 (Six) percent. It further says that, official estimates of growth for 2001 are, as yet, unavailable but the pace of economic activity in Myanmar, as in other countries of the region, is likely to have slowed. (17) Furthermore, the ADB’s recent Asian Development Outlook 2006 preface clearly states in its observation that, “an assessment of Myanmar’s economic development is handicapped by incomplete information and by deficiencies in the reliability of data. Official estimates suggest that the economy grew quickly in financial year 2004, but this is not supported by trends in inputs. Inflation appeared to rise to double-digit rates in 2005 and significant improvements in economic performance are unlikely in view of structural weakness in domestic policies, which include the monetization of fiscal deficits and a dual exchange rate.” (18) However for Senior General Than Shwe’s SPDC team, ADB’s macro assessment might soon turn as an economic tool or data management of neo-colonialist agenda of US & United Kingdom (UK) and other West European countries. And it is not far, that one day, Car Diplomats’ of India and new economic tigers of Asia like – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and South Africa also find themselves together with US and UK in the league & bandwagon of new definitions of neo-colonialism of military junta corrupting the original phrase in post-cold war era; which was once given by the representative of President Nkrumah of Ghana – Mr. Quaison-Sackey in the UN General Assembly on 05th of April, 1958 and if they question SPDC’s seriousness towards democracy? Moreover for military General’s in Burma, it is ILO (International Labour Organization) which holds negative view about the regime; otherwise, they are trying to build a golden nation on its own and cooperating with ILO? (19) And world would find it soon in near future that, ADB, UN, ILO and all those who question their human rights record and commitment towards democracy will be branded as – “NEO-COLONIALIST” ?

(Continued….)
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Endnotes:
8. China Gives Green Light to Myanmar Oil Pipeline, China Institute, University of Alberta Uofa Web Project, taken from: (April 18, 2006, Agence France-Presse reporting).

9. China, Myanmar Trade Keeps Growing, People’s Daily, Beijing, China, December 12, 2001.

10. China and Russia veto US/UK- backed Security Council draft resolution on Myanmar, UN News Centre, UN News Service, 14 January 2007.

11. UNDP in Myanmar report by UNDP office Myanmar.

12. Asia Pacific Human Development Report 2006 of UNDP, Trading Opportunities for the Least Developed Countries, Chapter – Six, p.127

13. Myanmar and UN Agencies jointly implementing programs, The New Light of Myanmar, Volume XIV, No. 246, 18 December 2006, p.4

14. Ibid., p.5

15. Note-12, p.136

16. Ibid., p.128

17. Asian Development Outlook 2002, Economic Trends and Prospects in Developing Asia: Southeast Asia – Myanmar, Asian Development Bank, p.19

18. Asian Development Outlook 2006, Myanmar, Asian Development Bank, p.213

19. Maung Hmat Kyauk, Myanmars to build a golden nation on own strength, labour despite negative view of ILO with whom the country is cooperating, The New Light of Myanmar, Volume XIV, No. 278, 19 January 2007, p.8

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(Continued…)

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2 Comments on “Russia & China’s Veto on Burma and Politics of Double Face (Part-II)”


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