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

Russia’s veto on Burma issue on 12th of January 2007 in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in tandem with China’s politics of double face is more related with new emerging economic opportunity in golden land & to build new power order in Asia Pacific region in Post-cold war era, sacrificing the basic spirit of United Nations Charter. For Russian Ambassador to the UN, who also holds responsible position of UNSC President in January 2007, Mr. Vitaly Churkin, “the Burma issue didn’t pose any threat to international or regional peace, so his country had consistently opposed the consideration of the Burma / Myanmar issue in the Security Council?” (20) However interestingly, he accepts that, “Not denying that Burma had been facing certain problems, particularly in the socio-economic and humanitarian areas.” (21) It appears that, probably Mr. Vitaly Churkin is not aware of the wonderful and significant economic achievement gained by the military junta in Burma or totally unaware of the press conference of Burma’s Minister for National Planning & Economic Development, U Soe Tha’s press conference to the world media on 17th of December 2006 at the new capitol – Nay Pyi Taw of achieving great economic growth as well as of contributions made by military backed quasi socio-political organization – Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) in creating congenial & harmonious social order in Burma? Or, Mr. Churkin is accepting truth of Burma in half way to serve business interests emerging from the energy fields of Myanmar and fulfilling commitment made to Chinese President, Mr. Hu Jintao during his visit to Kremlin in the year 2003? In May 2003, during Chinese President- Mr. Hu Jintao’s trip to Russia, both the countries strongly expressed their commitment to abide by the ‘Russia-China Good Neighbourly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation’ signed in July 2001 and reached a wide range of consensus on bilateral ties & major international issues. For Russian leader, Mr. Vladimir Putin, “Hu’s visit was landmark in Russia-China friendship and provides an opportunity for both sides not only to sum up the course of development of bilateral relations and the achievements, but also to draw up a mid and long term plan for future development of the ties in the commerce, energy, aviation & satellite technology and major international issues.” (22)

It is important to note that, Russia which is trying to create a new power order in the Asia Pacific Region together with China also enjoys membership with NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) after the collapse of Soviet Union. And the founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation was signed on May 27, 1997, and thereafter NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council got established to develop productive partnership for dispelling unwarranted concerns held by both parties on international issues. (23) However Russian veto on Burma resolution against US & UK, two most powerful member countries of NATO, shows the politics of double face of Russian leadership. Russian ambition to create strategic new power order in post cold war era in Asia Pacific Region is not only related with her energy ties with military junta in Burma but of defence, trade & commerce as well as her nuclear research collaboration with military dictators since 2001. (24)

Although interestingly, for Mr. Churkin, “the Burma issue would be better handled by other UN organs, particularly the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and its Third Committee, International Organization for Migration and humanitarian agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the concerned US-UK backed resolution would hamper diplomatic efforts being carried out through the good offices of the Secretary-General and substitution of their efforts by the Security Council would be counterproductive and would not facilitate the division of labour between the main bodies of the world Organization, which was provided for in the United Nations Charter, or development of their constructive cooperation.” (25)

Mr. Vitaly Churkin was right in his speech & opposition to Burma resolution and Veto on 12th January, as the art of diplomacy of contemporary business globalization doesn’t permit him to say at UN platform that his leader, “Russian Prime Minister, Mikhail Fradkov had signed a strategic energy treaty few months back with then visiting Myanmar’s Vice-Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of military junta- Mr. Maung Aye in April 2006 and Russia’s oil company Zarubezhneft got a strategic lead in the energy fields of Myanmar”. And to say that, two sides also agreed to develop interaction in the protection of secret information and expand cooperation in all directions. Whereas, visiting General Maung Aye, stressed that, the two countries are to deepen friendly relations not between the governments and the peoples but also with the armed forces. And Russia’s ambition to create new power order in Asia Pacific region could be understood from the statement by Russian Prime Minister, Mr. Fradkov on this occasion to Maung Aye, that, “Russia seeks to expand participation in the Asia-Pacific region. Thus, Russian-Myanmar relations have good and promising prospects.” (26)

One more UN organization, Mr. Churkin missed in his opposition to Burma issue & speech to quote is – “United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)” offices to avoid substitution and counterproductive to UNSC. But then it would have led to Chinese and Russian delegate to fall into the trap of making Burma issue – an international one, endangering peace and stability of the region, otherwise it is an internal affair of the country in their world vision fitting into their economic & strategic interest’s agenda. However, Russia’s positions in the Sixty-First Session of the UN General Assembly of championing the cause of Peace Building Commission and the Human Rights Council and ensuring the effective functioning of these bodies for the benefit of all Member States with the words, that, “the key long-term priority in that area is the strengthening of the international human rights protection regime” got lost with her veto. (27) The double talk with double face has become a growing phenomenon of the art of international diplomacy and national postures, which results in the dichotomy of words & deeds, ultimately weakening international institutions like – the United Nations.

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ENDNOTES:

20. Note-1, P.6.

21. Note-10, P.1.

22. Chinese President Holds Talks with Putin, People’s Daily, Beijing, China, 28 May 2003.
23. Raymond L. Garthoff, NATO and Russia: Looking to the Future, the Eisenhower Institute Papers, 915 15 Street, NW, 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20005, USA.

24. Roland Watson, Nuclear Proliferation and Burma – The Hidden Connection, Dictator Watch, 13 November 2006.

25. Note-1, P.6

26. Russia, Myanmar to enhance oil Cooperation, People’s Daily, Beijing, China, 04 April 2006.

27. Speech by the Russian Ambassador to the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly, P.1. UN General Assembly Documents, No. 282-17a-19, pc3.

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