A New Desire to Engage
covering burma and southeast asia
Monday, October 25, 2021


A New Desire to Engage

By THE NATION Thursday, October 20, 2011

(Page 2 of 2)

I think the government will need to demonstrate a very clear determination to move forward. I think an appropriate next step will be the release of political prisoners.

Q: That will be the most important condition?

A: I think it is laid out clearly: the thing we are looking for is progress with the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi, and domestic diplomacy with ethnic minority groups, many of whom are subject to terrible violence and abuse.

We would like to see a clear determination to avoid interaction with North Korea that is inconsistent or in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution. Obviously, the release of political prisoners and also steps to address people's needs in terms of health care, food and clothing.

There are issues we would like to see progress on, and we have seen some hints, and we hope they will build up in time.

Q: Will you talk to China about Burma too? Are there some signs of change in China's attitude over Burma issues.

A: I think China wants to avoid circumstances where Burma is isolated. I think the isolation is not a strategic interest. At the same time, I think they're worried about conflict inside the country and its potential to spill over into Thailand or even into China, which clearly is not in their interest.

We have encouraged them to be helpful and we think that they have had communication with the new government. Clearly there is an overlap in our mutual interests. We have deep discussions with all of our Asean partners—Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia all have key relationships of a different kind, but key relationships, with Burma. Obviously India and the countries in Northeast Asia and Europe also have a critical role to play in the developments on the ground in the country.

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