US-China rivalry over Burma's hand intrigues media
South-east Asian commentators have been picking over the bones of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit to Burma, with some writers dubious about Washington's motives for offering a hand to a pariah state.
And other writers in the region and beyond Russia were equally distrustful of the generals' motives for dancing with Washington.
In Burma, although state radio acknowledged the importance of the first such visit in 50 years, coverage of Mrs Clinton's arrival was relegated to page two of a government newspaper by a visit from the Belarus prime minister.
Commentary on state-run Radio Myanmar
A relationship with the US has also become crucial for Myanmar.
Editorial in state-run daily Kyemon
It is hopeful that while Myanmar is continuing its traditional ties with neighbouring China and India, the US will promote the engagement between the two countries to the level of friendly relations and cooperation in the interest of Myanmar and its people.
Commentary in India-based opposition website Mizzima News
Clinton's visit signifies the Americans' willingness to invest major political capital in Burma... she can also use her influence to help reconcile Burma's various political factions, including the military, democracy activists and ethnic nationalities.
Ko Ko Sethmu Tetkatho on Yangon's Eleven Media Group website
After 50 years, this is an occasion when Burma and the US have started to resume their relationship. Even global media agencies considered her visit as important news - the government should change its old-style protocol system.
Prof Gao Zugui on China Central Television
The US wants to strengthen relations with lower Mekong countries like Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. We can see that this intention is strong, and it is very clearly targeting China.
Researcher Sun Zhe on China Central Television
China must first calm down over this change in Myanmar. If this country wants to carry out reform and open up, we do not need to make an unwarranted fuss over it developing relations with the West.
Regional expert Song Qingrun on Hong Kong's Phoenix TV
Burma is not leaning toward the West - all it wants is to have Western sanctions lifted.
Wu Chengliang in Beijing's Renmin Ribao
Some observers believe that the US move is aimed at counter-balancing China's influence in the Asia-Pacific region, especially on Burma.
Ding Gang in Beijing's Global Times
The olive branch offered by US President Barack Obama to Myanmar is not without its thorns. People in Myanmar know that Obama just wants to take advantage of the changes to support the US return to Asia.
Commentary in Hong Kong newspaper The Sun
US Secretary of State Hillary's visit to Myanmar marks another diplomatic victory by President Obama... Now that Myanmar has 'redeemed itself', it has added a bit more capital to Obama's re-election.
Column in Hong Kong's Beijing-backed daily Ta Kung Pao
Despite US eagerness to influence Burmese affairs, it cannot break the status quo of 'thriving' China-Burma relations.
Editorial in Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post
Despite the changes, doubts remain that Myanmar is really opening up... For half a century, the generals have used Myanmar's resources to enrich themselves. Suspicions abound that they are using the pretence of democracy to reap further gains.
Thai Newspaper Bangkok Post
Why should Hillary Clinton go to Burma? The short answer is to encourage the best chance at real political change in a country that effectively cloistered itself under harsh military rule for nearly five decades... History advises caution, however, as the generals have cynically initiated numerous false starts in the past, only to slam the door shut with determined violence.
Robert H Taylor in Singapore's The Straits Times
Clinton's visit is not to bring Myanmar in from the cold, but to bring the US back to Asia... An administration with few successes, facing re-election, needs to demonstrate it has a strategy... Asia is [Obama's] chance to make a difference.
Chua Chin Hon in Singapore's The Straits Times
Why is the Myanmar leadership embarking on these changes, given that there is no serious challenge in sight to its continued rule?... the world needs to hear directly from Myanmar's leaders about the reason, or perhaps reasons, behind their change of heart.
Brian McCartan in Thailand-based Asia Times
Clinton's visit can be chalked up as a 'win' for Thein Sein's nominally democratic government. Her arrival alone conveyed much sought-after legitimacy and respect in the international community.
Vladimir Orlov in Russia's heavyweight daily Kommersant
Clinton's visit aims to limit Chinese influence over neighbouring Burma... Burma is turning into a base for strategic rivalry between Beijing and Washington.
Former Russian ambassador to Burma Gleb Ivashentsev in Kommersant
Russia is observing the battle for Burma which has started between the US and the People's Republic of China from the outside, although it is a key partner of Nay Pyi Taw after Beijing.
Boris Volkhonsky in Russia's international radio Voice of Russia
It still remains unclear whether the developments in Myanmar will lead to a Soviet-style 'perestroika', or open up the floodgates for Arab spring-style riots, or will lead to nothing at all. But the Americans were quick to react - the stakes in their strategic standoff with China are too high.
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