Letter: Ask China to free Aung San Suu Kyi

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The Independent Online
Sir: The sentiments expressed in Glenys Kinnock's open letter (19 July) to the Burmese leader, General Khin Nyunt, are laudable. The letter should, though, be addressed not to Khin Nyunt but to Burma's true master: China. So long as that nation retains an economic and strategic stranglehold on Burma, the Khin Nyunt junta will remain. Pressure should be brought on Peking, not Rangoon, for the release of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma offers the rapidly industrialising provinces of South-west China a vital port facility in the Indian Ocean. Consequently, substantial Chinese investment in creating an effective infrastructure from border to port - in rolling stock, highway and water transport - precludes the possibility of a return to democratic rule. There are strategic implications too: the greatest Communist power in the world has a new front against the greatest democracy, India.

After bad experiences under the British and Japanese, Burma for 30 years pursued a non-aligned stance at the expense of one-time national prosperity. The irony is that it has been colonised again.

Yours sincerely,


London, SW1