Hillary’s Burma Visit
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Interview

INTERVIEW

Hillary’s Burma Visit


By THE IRRAWADDY Saturday, November 19, 2011


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(Page 3 of 6)

So I’m going to stop here, and then if there are questions we can --

Q: First of all, I want to ask, what does the United States think about ASEAN allowing Myanmar to chair ASEAN in two years -- three years, actually -- and also, do you think that this will feed some fears on China’s part of encirclement?  How do you think China is going to react to this, and are you concerned about that?

Senior US administration official:  To your first question, first of all, this is an ASEAN decision, this is an ASEAN organization, and we respect that decision -- the ability of that organization to make decisions.  And we hope that by 2014, if this process inside the country continues, then they will be able to hold the summit and a meeting that will be broadly welcomed and supported by the international community.  And I think that’s our position right now.

Let me just say, we’ve had very close consultations with China about a whole host of issues in Asia -- North Korea, developments throughout Southeast Asia, Iran, climate change, you name it.  But in addition, we’ve had very substantive discussions about Burma -- what they call Myanmar.  They have been supportive of our engagement and they have been encouraging of political reform inside the country.

I recognize that you're -- sort of the lens that is being used is seeing some of the developments in kind of this almost bipolar way.  I would just simply say that the issue in which the United States confronts enormous historical, moral challenges inside the country really have very little to do with the kind of bilateral dynamics of Sino-U.S. relations.

Overall, they’ve been very supportive.  Remember, they want stability on their borders.  They want a country that is part of the international community.  They have experienced problems with ethnic groups that have led to tens of thousands of refugees in the past pour into China.  They have no interest in that.  And so we fully expect that they will welcome these developments.  And we intend to work closely with them and consult with them along the way.

Senior US administration official:  I’d just add one thing that -- on the ASEAN point, as my colleague pointed out, these are parallel issues and that ASEAN makes their decisions.  This was very much something that we pursued -- the Secretary’s -- the announcement the President made today, the Secretary’s trip, in our own discussions with the Burmese government.

What I will say, though, is that there -- that this will also be further welcomed by I think the nations in this region.  The U.S. engagement with Burma is something that I think will resonate broadly in Southeast Asia, and will be seen as an opportunity to build a relationship not just between the U.S. and Burma -- if they continue down this path -- but fostering greater regional cooperation.  So in that respect, we see this as a positive signal.

And similarly, I think it speaks to what we’ve talked about throughout this trip, which is the U.S.



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COMMENTS (14)
 
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Myo Wrote:
24/11/2011
We have all the resources, you name it then we have it. All the Burmese talented people are waiting for this opportunity to go back and build our Home.

Currently I am studying at MIT and thought of going back and make development at Burma after my graduation.

nyi nyi Wrote:
24/11/2011
To be honest,I know that burma will alliance with US when they started to delay the DAM project. Otherwise, they cannot deal with the China who is the main supporter of burmese general over decades.On the other hand, it is the good time for US to go inside it. The world economy goes down and asia pacific is the good market to make new businees.Again, a country like burma is the good place for them to restart again. All in all, there are so many benefict from both side. Country will develop more, there will be more jobs rather than girls are working at karaoke and massage. If the Generals are really looking forward to the changes, this is really good sign. Currenly thailand is flooding and it is the good time to start.
We strongly welcome it . Come on Myanmar!

linnhtetmaw Wrote:
24/11/2011
A lot of Burmese around the world are looking forward and are glad of the changes taking place in the state. i think that if they can build the real foundation, Myanmar can be on top in South East Asia by 30-40years from now.It will also depend on the next generation of Burmese citizens too so it all starts from the classroom..

Derek Wrote:
24/11/2011
Where can I find the best roast duck in Yangon?

Ohn Wrote:
21/11/2011
Than Shwe was like a naughty boy who jumped over the fence and faced with a large mean dog. After voluntarily giving in to the Chinese who throughout the history of the world has not shown an ounce of conscience or qualm but sheer ruthlessness and cruelty dealing with their own or the others, with concessions after concessions ( where his various lieutenants went to China and signed MOU’s) he finds he can't undo it now. Chinese now acts like they own HIM.

The distress signal (stopping the dam) was picked up by the ASEAN and the “developed countries” readily waiting in the wing. They also have similar interest as well now. To build rails, roads and ports for faster and more profitable access across Burma for the benefit of multinationals companies with ready consumer market of the insatiable Chinese. All of these plans will benefit enormously to the companies concerned as well as the Chinese and the ASEAN and “western” governments.

Ohn Wrote:
21/11/2011
All except the Burmese public who will be left with irreversibly damaged environment, loss of traditional farm land, loss of income and livelihood, fractured families and social structure and advent of consumer culture, and erosion of morality, traditional culture and social fabric. The reaped benefit would still go to a few connected Burmese regardless of who joins the government now.

This will also entails “annihilation” of anybody in the way, now with the added support and at least tacit approval of the “democratic” countries and NLD.


Even though the Americans would want the Chinese not to be sole handlers of the military (in whatever form they want to present themselves with eg. Fake parliament) they would be in thorough agreement in the matter of the loot of the country along with ASEAN and other Asian powers.

Ohn Wrote:
21/11/2011
It is like the Burmese hare is chased by the Chinese hounds into the path of the gun men the Americans and the ASEAN. The result for majority Burmese will be the same.


For the majority Burmese the result would simply be loss of any ownership – of traditionally own land and natural reserves of the country - and their livelihood with benefit going to small clique of people who will be the vocal crowd drowning out the feeble voice the people have.

And imagine these poor things singing the praise of the arrival of the saviour Americans.

KML Wrote:
21/11/2011
It is very enlightening for the fact that concern about political prisoners is mentioned in this interview. Although they are still behind the bar, their contribution towards Burmese democratic process should not be forgotten.

Alexander Graham Bell invented telephone and Wrights brothers’ pioneered aeroplane. But the real beneficiaries are the Telco giants and Boeing, Airbus etc.

Dear respected political prisoners, you may not enjoy any luxury. But if Burmese people, including ethnic nationalities, enjoy peaceful and developed nation, your sacrifice will be worthy.

Nukgan Wrote:
21/11/2011
To show the point of my earlier comment, let me add quotes from an article just published on a Kachin news site: http://kachinlandnews.com/?p=20986

"The deals are made, the proposals are exchanged, and the promises are rendered, signifying progress in the Burmese political scene. The ethnic minorities are, however, once again remain marginalized and neglected at the crossroad of political progress. The ethnic issue is at the bottom of their to-do list for any interest party involved.
...
The suffering, displacement, and lives of the civilian Kachins are seen merely as a collateral damage on the road to progress. Therefore, the so-called “constructive engagement” with the Burmese government so far transpires as a double-disappointment for the ethnic minorities. It is evident that the more the Burmese government is successful in its international diplomacy, the more violent and atrocious they become in dealing with the ethnic minorities."

Nukgan: Non-Bama people? Wrote:
21/11/2011
I support the constructive engagement approach and the reforms made, but I am so worried to see that again no one brought up and discussed the situation of non-Bamar peoples in Burma. The wars, the tens of thousands of people who have had to flee their homes, the women raped, people killed, tortured, and living in constant fear for their children, friends, families.

Are the Burmese Army's activities in the lands of Shans, Kachins, Karens, Chins, and many others, as well as the situation of Rohingyas too complicated to discuss? Do the ethnic Bamar democratic leaders of Burma feel so much less responsible in front of the non-Bama peoples? What will be the price of our silence?

While the voice of other ethnic peoples is less loud, they are noticing what is going on, and see it from their unfortunate perspectives.

Nyunt Han Wrote:
20/11/2011
In the photograph Maung Thein Sein and his cronies seemed to be listening eagerly to what Obama had to say.

Richard Aung Myint Wrote:
20/11/2011
Where is Than Shwe and Maung Aye in this equation?

chindits Wrote:
19/11/2011
looks like ethnic issue has to come second after they fill their stomach.

Oo Maung gyi Wrote:
19/11/2011
Fresh winds are blowing inside Burma. Every things depend on both side. The Burmese mass is waiting for the good atmosphere to create inside Burma. No more fighting with ethnic and government soldiers. After all the end justify the means. Let us wait and see.

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