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U.S., China Diplomats Spar Online Over Myanmar’s Best Interests

An op-ed by a U.S. diplomat accusing China of eroding Myanmar’s sovereignty led to the two superpowers sparring online over who had the Southeast Asian nation’s best interests in mind.

China is exploiting its smaller neighbor’s commodity industries and labor force, George N. Sibley, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Myanmar, wrote on Saturday. The Chinese embassy there responded in a statement almost twice as long, saying American efforts to stigmatize the relationship between it and Myanmar are doomed to fail.

Diplomats representing the world’s two largest economies are getting into more public spats, trading barbs over issues such as human rights and economic and security policies. U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed China for covering up the coronavirus pandemic, accused Beijing of “illicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets” and threatened the U.S. could pursue a “complete decoupling” from the country.

China has repeatedly rejected U.S. accusations over its handling of the pandemic, Uighurs, Hong Kong and trade, and it has fired back at the Trump administration for undermining global cooperation and seeking to start a “new cold war.”

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