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Evolution of China-Myanmar Relations in the Aftermath of the February 2021 Coup

Evolution of China-Myanmar Relations in the Aftermath of the February 2021 Coup

Thursday, 26 October 2023 | 10:00  to 12:00 EDT | Room 857, Eighth Floor, Kaneff Tower, York University and virtually via Zoom

With Wa Lone, University of Toronto

Respondent: Napas Thein, University of Toronto

This research paper examines neoclassical realism to analyze the evolving nature of China’s response to the 2021 military coup in Myanmar. The seismic political shift in Myanmar triggered a complex strategic transformation in China’s approach to the crisis, characterized by a progression from initial cautiousness to active engagement with the Myanmar military regime. The study contextualizes the global power dynamics surrounding the coup, highlighting the limited attention initially accorded by China and the United States. The research investigates China’s strategic recalibration during the Spring Revolution, which marks a transition from passive observation to proactive involvement following the regime change. Amidst intricate geopolitical complexities, China’s response is scrutinized across multiple dimensions. The foreign policy dynamic between China and Myanmar can be comprehended by giving due weight to individual perceptions and bureaucratic influences while acknowledging the pertinent factors highlighted by neorealism. These factors encompass security challenges, treaty alliances, and economic advantages. The findings contribute significantly to understanding how Myanmar’s political transformation has influenced the bilateral relationship, providing insights into the intricate interplay of geopolitics and diplomacy in the Southeast Asian context. 

For Zoom attendees, register at:

This event is part of the Burma Past and Present: Religion, Ethnicity and Power, a series of readings and discussion of works in progress. We will be reading and discussing work in progress with the author. Please email to receive a copy of the reading.


Oct 26 2023


10:00 am - 12:00 pm


York Centre for Asian Research
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