In the News
February 3, 2021

WORLD POLITICS U.S. could push Myanmar closer to China if Biden slaps sanctions on Southeast Asian country

SINGAPORE — U.S. sanctions on Myanmar following this week’s military coup could open the door for China to extend its influence in the Southeast Asian country, said an analyst from geopolitical consultancy Stratfor.

President Joe Biden has threatened sanctions and condemned the military takeover that occurred on Monday.

Citing election fraud, Myanmar’s military detained several elected officials including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and declared a one-year state of emergency.

While the U.S. doesn’t have a large economic interest in Myanmar, its Asian partners such as Japan, South Korea and India have expanded business and military presence there, said Rodger Baker, senior vice president for strategic analysis at Stratfor.

The presence of those Asian countries in Myanmar has helped to counter China’s “economic stranglehold” on the Southeast Asian country, Baker told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.

“If the U.S. puts sanctions, this potentially has an impact on the U.S. partnership structure in countering Chinese behavior within the region,” he said.

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