Another perspective on China and Myanmar

Sean Gleeson writes: Re. “Could Aung San Suu Kyi become president of Myanmar?” (Friday). Sainsbury says that reports the Chinese are funding the civil war in Kachin State demonstrate that Beijing has “little interest in a strong, cohesive more self-sufficient Myanmar.” While there are well-substantiated reports that the border trade in jade and other resources has helped to finance both sides of the conflict, it would be wrong to conflate official government policy with the actions of a few regional commissars moonlighting as gem traders.

China has a strong interest in an internally cohesive Myanmar for the same reason it seeks the same in its other southern neighbours — they make better business partners that way. Chinese state-owned companies have financed the Kyaukphyu oil port and pipeline in western Rakhine State to service a planned petrochemicals industry in Kunming and allow Middle Eastern oil shipments to bypass the Malacca Straits; another flare up of anti-Muslim violence in Rakhine would jeopardise the billions already invested there.

Aside from foreign investment and resource security, there are broader strategic imperatives neglected in this glib analysis of China’s motives. In his next paragraph, Sainsbury mentions this week’s airstrikes by the Myanmar Air Force against the Kokang Army, further east along the Chinese border. On Friday, tens of thousands of people were reported to have fled across the border and into China to escape the violence. It beggars belief that a potential humanitarian crisis of this nature—eminently foreseeable and with numerous recent historical precedents in Myanmar—would have escaped the grasp of the Politburo.

Time to turf out Abbott

Bernie Woiwod writes: Re. “Rundle: The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of Tony Abbott” (yesterday). After reading your story on the adventures of Tony Abbott and looking at the picture it made me realise that we have not been fair in our criticism.  If we see a mentally impaired person walking down the street we are inclined to feel sorry for him, not criticise him for his affliction. Tony Abbott was an “Oxford boxing Blue” or something like that, not sure about the terminology, and in gaining that “Blue” no doubt he took many hits to the head.  When you look at him carefully it is quite obvious. It can be seen in the faces of many ex-boxing professionals. So we should curb or criticisms and feel sorry for the man. He is brain damaged! But what does it say for the country that elected him?

Les Heimann writes: Your piece clearly highlights the need for this pugilistic zealot to be done away with quickly. Tony Abbott is more than a public embarrassment. He is the worst role model any country can possibly put up with. Every day, in every way, Abbott’s sway dips more into the mire. Why then does this man still strut amongst us? What are his colleagues thinking? Certainly we are all aware of the weaklings that abound in the liberal ranks — some of whom hold positions of major importance in governing this country knowing full well they wouldn’t be employable anywhere else in this or any other place. These fawn at the feet of he who holds their cojones tightly.

Then there are the right-wing fanatics, factional fools entirely soaked in the writings of Ayn Rand and lost to the world. As to the rest of the real Liberals. Don’t they realise that unless they rid themselves of all of the above by trampling on the bully they themselves will soon disappear into the growing ranks of the unemployed. We do not “Pyne” for the sub of the rising sun and we do mourn (a little bit) for the demise of the father of the house. Get out Tony!

Peter Fray

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