This mid-2018 report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. This study examines the impact of Myanmar's political liberalization on Sino-Myanmar cooperation from 2008 to 2018. Using a historical comparative analysis of bilateral cooperation from the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP), and the National League for Democracy (NLD) years, this study indicates that political liberalization temporarily weakened Myanmar's foreign policy with China, which historically has been characterized as Pauk-Phaw, or fraternal. The main reasons stemmed from the growth of anti-Chinese sentiments, coupled with an overdependence on China for economic, security, and diplomatic support during the years before liberalization. As a result, President Thein Sein and the USDP were inclined to loosen relations with China.
However, the new democratic regime under Aung San Suu Kyi has re-calibrated that trajectory by strengthening bilateral cooperation. China is critical to solving two key issues that are of national interest to Myanmar—economic growth and a peace deal with various ethnic armed organizations along the Sino-Myanmar border. Also, China continues to diplomatically protect Myanmar from international criticisms toward the military's violent oppression of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State. Collectively, these factors permit Sino-Myanmar cooperation to endure despite changes in Myanmar's domestic politics.
I. Introduction * a. Major research question * b. Significance of the research question * c. Literature review * 1. The pauk-phaw period (1948-1962) * 2. The rupture period (1962-1978) * 3. The rapprochement period (1978-1988) * 4. The alignment period (1988-2008) * d. Potential explanations and hypotheses * 1. Hypothesis 1 - the regime type factor * 2. Hypothesis 2 - the economy factor * 3. Hypothesis 3 - the security factor * 4. Hypothesis 4 - the diplomacy factor * e. Research design * f. Thesis overview and draft chapter outline * ii. The last spdc years: heightened tension (2008 - 2010) * a. Myanmar's foreign policy dilemma * b. Case studies * 1. The diplomacy factor - reinforcing previous patterns * 2. The security factor - challenging previous patterns * 3. The regime type factor - changing previous patterns * 4. The economy factor - a new pattern emerges * c. Analyzing the factors * d. Conclusion * iii. The usdp years: weakened bilateral cooperation (2011 - 2015) * a. Myanmar's domestic and foreign policy changes * b. Case studies * 1. The regime type factor - the "quasi-civilian" democracy * 2. The diplomatic factor - warm relations with the west * 3. The economic factor - anti-chinese protests * 4. The security factor - border instability * c. Analyzing the factors * d. Conclusion * iv. Aung san suu kyi and the nld: new patterns (2016 -2018) * a. Aung san suu kyi and the nld * b. Challenges of the new regime * 1. The economy factor - economic growth * 2. The security factor - unstable peace talks * 3. The diplomacy factor - the rohingya challenge * c. China's changed responses * d. Conclusion * v. Conclusion * a. Assessing change in sino-myanmar cooperation * b. Implications and policy recommendations * c. Areas for further research