During the Cold War Burma followed a foreign policy of neutralism that was shaped between 1948 and 1954. In 1954, Burma began to move closer to China in order to balance the Western influence in the country. The diplomatic balancing skills of Burmese leaders were reflected in Burma's early postcolonial diplomacy and constitute a substantial core dimension of the Burmese foreign policy tradition. Between 1998 and 2010 Burma was heavily reliant on China in the face of Western sanctions and its relative isolation; China's influence thus increased sharply in that country. The pattern of China-Burma-US triangular relations that was restructured in the early 1950s reappeared in the twenty-first century. Beginning in 2011, Nay Pyi Taw's policy reflected a determination to weaken China's growing influence and rebalance Burmese relations with Washington and Beijing. However, this Burmese rebalancing was overinterpreted by the media as Nay Pyi Taw's shift into the American orbit. Both Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi have attempted to steer Burma's foreign policy back to its traditional neutralist and nonaligned track.


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pp. 459-480
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