The main focus of this paper is to analyze the roles of markets and states in shaping the dynamic Sino-Myanmar political and economic relations in the first decade of the 21st century, i.e. from 2000 to 2010.
The study analyses the current political and economic relations between China and Myanmar in the context of the following three basic concepts: first, development; second, regionalism and third globalism in the global political economy.
This research also attempts to present some answers to the following three questions: How do we study the political economy of China-Myanmar relations in the 21st century? What are the features of the current Sino-Myanmar relations? And in what ways do the present relations of these two states differ from those between 1949 to 2000?
Various models are also employed to dissect China-Myanmar’s political economy relationship, which include: first, the Sino-centric tributary patron-client model; second, the complex interdependency model; third, regionalization; fourth, the ‘China threat’ model; fifth, the International Political Economy Paradigm.
The paper concludes that the closer economic entente between China and Myanmar in the 21st century is likely to be based on a pattern of asymmetrical complex interdependence, underpinned by political and economic realism of mutual interests and mutual benefits. This ‘marriage of convenience’ is likely to persist - despite Myanmar's lingering fear towards China due to its emergence as the rising superpower in Southeast Asia. Myanmar can withhold its autonomy notwithstanding domestic constraints and external pressures from the U.S. the EU and the UN. In short, markets rather than politics are the main determinants in shaping the current Sino-Myanmar political and economic relations.