Ambassador Mitchell's Press Briefing
covering burma and southeast asia
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Interview

INTERVIEW

Ambassador Mitchell's Press Briefing


By THE IRRAWADDY Friday, December 16, 2011


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take to strengthen bilateral ties between Burma and the U.S. such as invite Burma’s leaders to visit U.S. Or the U.S. ask Burma to participate in a regional joint military drill?

AMBASSADOR MITCHELL: We have not asked the Burmese President to the United States. We have invited the Foreign Minister to come for dialogue on Asia, just to exchange perspectives on the region as we do with many countries. We’ve never had that kind of conversation with the Burmese government. We want to develop habits of dialogue and perspectives We really have a limited understanding and I suspect they don’t have a good understanding of where we’re coming from too.

But no, we haven’t invited the Burmese President to come to the United States. And on the regional joint military exercise there has been no movement on that as well. We have restrictions on military to military contact, so there is no movement on the second of your points.

QUESTION: [Inaudible]. What’s your next destination?

AMBASSADOR MITCHELL: Home. [Laughter]. After two and a half weeks. Then my intention is to, well, I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m looking to go to India, Bangladesh, and maybe back into Burma. But we’ll see. I have to travel a bit and we’ll see between now and then what my plans become.

QUESTION: So it’s possible to India.

AMBASSADOR MITCHELL: Possibly India. Europe, I’ll need to get to. I need to get back into Southeast Asia. There are a lot of places interested in Burma. That’s what’s fascinating about this job. And to do the Burma issue, it really is a global issue. There’s a tremendous interest in what goes on there. So many folks want to hear what we’re thinking and doing and want to coordinate so I’m going to be on the road a lot.

QUESTION: We all know that Hillary Clinton has ended her visit with 1.2 million U.S. dollars in new aid, and she also said the U.S. will take some steps to demonstrate its commitment to this country. So is there any detailed plan of this demonstrating its commitment?

AMBASSADOR MITCHELL: Of demonstrating our commitment to their reform?

QUESTION: Yeah.

AMBASSADOR MITCHELL: Yes. In part, the trip itself was meant to be a demonstration. It’s fact-finding to some degree, but it was also meant to demonstrate our commitment and our encouragement of what we’ve seen, the trends that we see. It was, again, the first visit of a Secretary of State in 56 years, a long time. There’s a reason why it happened when it did, because of the progress that we’ve seen on the ground and the desire to learn more and to perhaps encourage more change.

There are a number of ways that we can show our commitment through exchanges, educational exchanges, through health assistance. Some of the things that we rolled out. Micro-finance aid for rural development, for poverty alleviation, for de-mining. We can do parliamentary exchanges. There are a number of things we can do that demonstrate that we are invested in this and we want to provide our best advice and experience. And not just the United States. Part of my job again is to go around and talk to others. They should also be engaged in this.

China will have things to offer, as will ASEAN states, as will Japan, Korea and Europe and Australia. So by our coordination of efforts and by our individual efforts in the United States we hope we will affirm some of the progress they want to make and to build their capacity. Their capacity to absorb, whether it’s money, aid, or even govern in a systematic way is very limited because of their recent history. So our ability to develop the capacity to do things and understand how to manage and organize. I think this also is an area that we can work with them and again show our commitment to their reform over time.

Thank you. 



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Norman Hla Wrote:
19/12/2011
The Director General of Asian Affairs, Luo Zhaohui might need to explain use of Veto card of China and gaining Burma business from than shwe imply conflict of interest or not. If China continue to use Veto for favoring than shwe , China should not do business with Burma for ethical reason(to avoid conflict of interest).US clearly states Burma must have good relationship with its neighbor(China)with the use of political solution for all ethnics issue.US means that DASSK must be good with China. Cheer US’s action for having ethical and good intention to Burmese citizens. The ball is in China hand to favor DASSK or brutal than shwe military thugs now. Let see if China leaders love Burmese and have their kind hearts for our 60 years suffering, esp ethnics who are mostly Chinese descents. One says DASSK’s mother has Karen blood. DASSK refused U nu’s(Karen killer) party forming in 1988up-rising.CheerDS.

Derek Wrote:
17/12/2011
This morning I joked with a taxi driver that next year the taxi owner could trade the 1972 Blue Mazda for an import permit that would leave him unemployed.

We both agreed an equitable solution could be for Toyota to open an assembly plant in Myanmar and then he could have drive an air conditioned hybrid Camry.

Considering the often rugged terrain a 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek could be a more appropriate vehicle for local conditions.

In addition to the factory workers paying income tax with new found regular employment they could be sold a 25 yr mortgage and reside in one of the new 5 star condominiums planned for Yangon.


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