China has downplayed the significance of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's trip to Burma this week, but some state-run media indulged in a little hand wringing about the ongoing failure of China's "soft power."
In an editorial on Wednesday, the conservative Global Times newspaper said "China's neighboring countries have become increasingly pro-US." The shift does seem apparent in recent months, with countries like Burma looking for new allies as China has become increasingly aggressive about its reach in the region. Clinton's visit marks the first by an American secretary of state to Burma (known officially by the military government as Myanmar) in 50 years and signals a potential further opening up by the Burmese government. The Global Times said Burma's dependence on China has been borne of its own desperation, but the relationship clearly wouldn't be one-sided in the long run.
"Neither China nor the US alone make Myanmar prosper. China will not become an obstacle for countries who seek development and prosperity. If China can hold onto this attitude, it will never be a loner in Asia," the paper wrote. "Boosting our strategic confidence is hard but of great importance. China welcomes the opening-up of Myanmar, but firmly opposes it stepping on China's interests."