On March 15, 2016, Myanmar’s newly-elected parliament, dominated by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, elected Htin Kyaw, Suu Kyi’s close aide and confidant, as Myanmar’s next president — the country’s first civilian president since the military coup d’état of September 18, 1988.
In his April 2014 meeting with the visiting Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted the need for China and Laos to intensify their comprehensive strategic partnership to achieve their national development goals.
A total of six countries — China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand — have relied on the Mekong River for generations. This shared use in the absence of clear ownership makes the river a regional transboundary common pool resource.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly in late September 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping advocated for a new type of international relations that is based on practical win-win cooperation.
In a conference on Sino-Cambodian cooperation held in June 2015, Bu Jianguo, China’s ambassador to Cambodia, identified Cambodia as being located on China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road development plan.
On March 8, 2015, a Tatmadaw fighter jet battling rebels from the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army in the Kokang region accidentally bombed a village in Gengma county in China’s Yunnan province, destroying a house.
Speculation is rife that it is now a good opportunity for the US to nurture Vietnam into a strategic ally in its pivot to Asia, but, plagued by bilateral political distrust, it seems that Vietnam can only be an ally of convenience at best.