Home / China / Military Affairs / Selected works on diplomacy Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
China Will Not Expand Outward
Adjust font size:

(December 14,1957)

Chairman Mao Zedong (hereinafter referred to as Mao): You are both very young, and this is of great advantage to your country.

Deputy Prime Minister U Ba swe (hereinafter referred to as Ba): It is just because our country is young, and so are the leaders.

Mao: Our country is also young, but we are relatively older, because we have been engaged in guerrilla warfare for a long time. The area of Burma is not small; what is the amount of land per capita?

Deputy Prime Minister U Kyaw Nyun (hereinafter referred to as Kyaw): On average, one acre of cultivated land per person, but we still have a lot of reclaimable wasteland. The area of cultivated land at present is 210 million acres, which can probably be increased by 40 million.

Mao: The Chinese people have only three mu per capita, half what the Burmese people have. Our reclaimable land is rather scanty, but you need not be afraid that China would covet Burmese territory. Burmese territory belongs to the Burmese people. No Chinese is allowed to covet it.

I asked prime Minister U Nu when he came to China whether anyone in Burma is afraid of China. He said some people were. I explained to him then that Burma need not be afraid of China. We are resolutely against aggression—aggression against any country.

Kyam: We believe China in this respect. However, before prime Minister U Nu's visit to China and his meeting with Chairman Mao, Burma was indeed a bit afraid of China, because Burma is a small country, while China is a big one. Since Premier Zhou Enlai visited Burma and we jointly initiated the Five Principles, we came to understand each other. Therefore, there is no fear in Burma now.

Mao: Burma used to think of Yunnan Province as being wrapped in darkness, wondering how many troops China stationed there and what it was cooking against Burma. Burma was then very uneasy about us, so we suggested that Burma set up a consulate in Yunnan to observe.

Ba: It is quite natural that we had such fear, because historically big countries always bully small ones, and Burma is situated between big countries. Anyhow, our fears have now vanished.

Mao: Prime Minister Nehru also told us that some countries are afraid of China, some of the United States, and some even of India. China and India, Burma, Laos and Cambodia are friendly neighbors, so we are quite at ease in our southwest. We are also at ease in the north, because the Soviet Union, Korea and the People's Republic of Mongolia are there. What we are worried about is our east. Surely we are not afraid of Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan or Hong Kong, but of the United States, which will make use of these places to plot against us. We have a very long coastline of 12,000 kilometers, so we have to pay more attention to our maritime defense. There is no need to station many troops in our southwest.

Ba: By no means will Burma join any military bloc or become the base of any imperialist power.

Mao: China is a large country and it has a great number of things to take care of . How could we have the idea of aggression against others when we can barely manage our own affairs? Although we have a big population, we are able to meet the people's needs for food and clothing by relying on ourselves. Some Western observers, such as Attlee, hold that China with too big a population will have difficulty in finding a way out. They do not know that in China it requires only one fifteenth of a hectare (one mu) of land to feed one person, and even one thirtieth of a hectare (half a mu) is enough in some places. Our population is increasing and is estimated to reach one billion by the end of the 20th century, but by then both our industry and our agriculture will have developed.

Premier Zhou Enlai: By that time every ten persons may have one hectare of land, or one and a half mu for each person.

Mao: That's why China will not expand outward. How nice if humans were able to invent artificial food, like the synthetic fibers for clothing at present.

Kyaw: If the synthetic fibers could be mass-produced, the land now used to grow cotton and hemp could be turned over to food crops.

Mao: How many remnants of Kuomintang troops are still in Burma?

Ba: There are a few, but they move about in the Burmese-Laotian and Burmese-Thai border areas and are difficult to locate. They flee to Laos or Thailand when we send armed forces to pursue and attack them, and they come back to make harassment as soon as our forces have left.

Mao: Is the number less than before?

Ba: It is estimated between 1,000 to 1,500 persons, they are no longer a political organization but just a gang of bandits, who loot and plunder wherever they go. They were 12,000 to 16,000 when they numbered most.

Mao: These Chinese did great harm to the Burmese people, destroying Burmese villages. I wonder if Burma will demand compensation from China.

Kyaw: The Chinese government has nothing to do with these bad elements.

Mao: Yet we feel this way. You are helping us wipe them out, and this is mutual cooperation, because they are our common enemy.

Ba: In this regard, Thailand has given us some help, and so has China. For instance, when we sent our air force to bomb these Kuomintang troops, our planes sometimes flew over Thailand territory, and we had to apologize to Thailand from time to time. Everything is all right now, since we have arrived at an understanding with Thailand.

Mao: It would be good if Thailand could change into a country like yours. Thailand is a member state of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization, but the majority of the people of Thailand harbor no hostility against us. Some people in Thailand are afraid of our aggression. Hence someone spread the rumor that China was going to give Pridi Phanomyong, the ex-prime minister of Thailand, now seeking political asylum in China, an army of 100,000 soldiers to stage a comeback; another rumor was that China was carrying out Free Thailand activities. Of course, Thailand came to understand us later on.

Kyam: True, Thailand had such fears of China in the beginning.

Mao: They have sent some delegations here to see what is going on, and it is better now.

Does Burma have diplomatic relations with Thailand?

Ba: Yes, since long ago. However, the improvement in relations between the two countries is a matter of recent years.

Mao: I said to Prime Minister U Nu last time that I hope Burma would help China by working on Thailand.

U Hla Maung (Burmese Ambassador to China): Prime Minister U Nu has made efforts in this respect. Pakistan is a SEATO member, but it has diplomatic relations with China. Why not Thailand?

Mao: Your observation is quite correct.

Ba: Prime Minister U Nu will go to Thailand before long.

Mao: Please tell Prime Minister U Nu that we hope he will give us further help. We are grateful for his help in the past. We believe that Thailand will improve its relations with us after a period of time, but right now it still dares not do so.

(PLA Daily)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
Most Viewed >>