After several Chinese-invested factories in Yangon of Myanmar were smashed, looted, vandalized or burnt, the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar urged the local government on Sunday to take effective measures to stop violence and punish the perpetrators.
The violent incidents, which should be severely condemned, were clearly related to anti-China sentiments some forces have been instigating in Myanmar over the past days. Since the political upheaval in the Southeast Asian country in early February, some Western groups and anti-China forces have been taking the opportunity of Myanmar’s political turmoil to spread rumors smearing China so as to stoke hatred among locals in Yangon.
Yet, it needs to be stressed that China always respects Myanmar people’s right to handle their own affairs. We sincerely hope that Myanmar people who are looking forward to social stability and economic development could distinguish between right and wrong, and should not be provoked and exploited by the anti-China conspiracies trumpeted by some hidden forces with ulterior motif. In fact, it is in the mutual interests of both countries to guarantee the safety of people’s lives and properties of Chinese people and companies in Myanmar.
Due to the consideration of lowering costs, some Chinese manufacturing enterprises have shifted their production capacity to Myanmar in recent years, which, to a certain extent, has strengthened the industrial chain cooperation between the two countries.
By extending to Myanmar, the China-centered regional industrial chain has created a good number of new job opportunities for the country, boosting local social and economic development accordingly.
Notably, Myanmar remains a relatively poor developing country where a large number of its population still lives in poverty. GDP per capita in Myanmar reached just $1,407.81 in 2019, according to World Bank data, which means Myanmar has great potential to develop its economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the economic pressure facing the country. Statistics showed that of its total population of about 52 million, up to 7 million people, or 13 percent, were unemployed during the pandemic.
By whatever metrics, China-Myanmar economic ties are vital to the latter’s future economic development and people’s prosperity.
Widely seen as an important partner in terms of economic development, China is Myanmar’s largest trading partner and one of its main foreign investors. Since Myanmar is one of the key pivot countries connecting the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt, observers generally believe that infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative will become the Southeast Asian country’s most significant source of investment and momentum for its economic growth.
No matter how the political situation evolves, there is the need for its economy to grow and for its people to live a better life through economic development. And whether judging from the past achievements or the future potential, China’s investment and economic cooperation will provide the indispensable impetus for Myanmar’s economic takeoff.