Bertil Lintner (Independent Journalist and Author) speaks at the Southeast Asia Seminar on 20th January 2016.
The United States and the West did not change their policy of isolating Burma because of their concerns were primarily with the lack of democracy and human rights. It was "the China factor". Burma was becoming a vassal of China, which was seen as a threat to the status quo and regional stability. At the same time, Burma's military was also concerned about China's growing influence and realised that it has to reach out to the West to avoid being absorbed by Chinese political, economic and strategic interests. But in order to "woo the West" they also realised that they had to liberalise the country's rigid political system - but not in a way that would jeopardise their hold on power.