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China leaves rivals in the dust with influence in Myanmar

As Xi Jinping visits, Beijing risks backlash if it pushes too far

| Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos

Taiwan's presidential election on January 11 made Chinese foreign policy look messier than it actually is. Tsai Ing-wen won a handsome victory on a wave of umbrage against China's habit of pushing its smaller neighbors around. Her landslide suggested missteps and overreach by President Xi Jinping too.

That impression appeals to China's critics, especially in the U.S., who like to view Xi as a bully. Sadly for them, it is far from an accurate reflection of Beijing's steady and largely successful recent increase in influence elsewhere in its neighborhood.

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