This book, a breathtakingly panoramic analysis of Sino-Burmese relations from 1949 to the present, demonstrates that this traditionally neutralist Southeast Asian country occupied a more significant role in Beijing's Cold War strategy than one would assume from the standard monographs on China's policy in Asia, focused as they are on the battlefields of Korea and Indochina.

From China's perspective, the importance of Burma (or, by its current official name, Myanmar) lay in two, closely interrelated factors: the country's precarious geographical situation and its determined efforts to pursue a nonaligned course. Sharing a common border of more than 2,000 kilometers, both Chinese and Burmese leaders were acutely aware of the possible negative consequences of any serious disagreement between Rangoon and Beijing, all the more so because Burma's other neighbors—particularly India...

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