Burma tug-of-war

Two days before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to make her landmark visit to Burma, that country's military leader has met in Beijing with China's presumed next president.

The visit here could be an indication that Beijing cares about Clinton's trip more than it's letting on. There's been much discussion that Clinton's visit to Burma (officially called Myanmar by its military government) marks a shift away from China, and could swing the repressive state toward greater openness and put more distance between Burma and its main ally and trade partner, China.

Yet Chinese political analysts have said Beijing is not overly concerned by Clinton's visit, the first by an American secretary of state in 50 years. This week, however, Chinese Vice Premier Xi Jinping, who is expected to become the country's next president, met with Burma's top military leader and pledged to build a stronger relationship, according to the official Xinhua news agency.