US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last Wednesday the US would complete formalities "in the coming days" to send an ambassador to Myanmar, completing a promised upgrade to full diplomatic relations after a two-decade gap. The move came after Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won almost all the seats in the Myanmar by-elections on April 1, becoming the main opposition force in the national parliament.
Myanmar is undergoing some profound changes. But it is not necessary to be pessimistic about the impact on China-Myanmar relations. The Myanmar opposition victory does not signify the failure of the ruling party. Myanmese President Thein Sein and Suu Kyi have reached an important understanding and made gestures of political reconciliation during their meeting before the April elections.
The NLD regained legal status, and the new government agreed Suu Kyi could participate in the elections. Myanmar also invited the US, the UN and EU to send observers to the April 1 polls, to ensure the vote was free and fair. People have seen the new government's determination to advance the reforms, seek political reconciliation, and bolster peace within the country.
The NLD has had more confidence in its involvement in the country's democratic reform since winning seats in parliament. Some members of the opposition party have even expressed optimism for Suu Kyi's victory in the 2015 presidential election.
We should consider the success of these elections a win-win situation. The NLD has won a say for the political groups it represents, while the new government won some credibility and still controls 80 percent of the parliament.
China is always concerned about Myanmar's development and reform, especially after the landmark elections. Some analysts have said the NLD lacks enthusiasm toward China. But after Suu Kyi was released from house arrest, she was eager to meet with the Chinese ambassador and she has also said that China is not an enemy. During a trip to the border city of Lashio, Suu Kyi dismissed local businessmen's concerns that the NLD's victory in the elections would affect bilateral trade.
No politician in Myanmar will neglect the long history of China-Myanmar bilateral exchanges, or the two countries' complementary economic interests. Myanmar's reforms still need observation, but I believe Suu Kyi will be careful in dealing with the China-Myanmar friendship after the election.
The author is a researcher with the Institute of South East Asian Studies at Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences. firstname.lastname@example.org