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Coup Puts Myanmar at the Center of U.S.-China Clash

Myanmar has found itself at the heart of tensions between the US and China after the military effectively staged a coup against the current elected government. Myanmar’s transition from military rule towards democracy occurred roughly a decade ago and was championed as a victory for Washington’s agenda in China’s backyard. Myanmar then opened its doors to diplomatic and commercial ties with the West. However, the country’s era of democracy was short-lived after Myanmar’s soldiers seized power in a coup earlier this week.

Soldiers detained former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other public political figures. The military’s top general is now running the country from inside its government buildings. Aung San Suu Kyi has allegedly been put under house arrest along with many of her former colleagues. The takeover pits the foreign policy strategies of the two powers against each other and pushes Myanmar into the front lines of an increasingly tense competition for global leadership. The US has framed its approach to the policy regarding Myanmar as a push for democracy and human rights, whereas Beijing has placed emphasis on economic and strategic interests.

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