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Monday, November 10, 2014

Are Myanmar’s affairs being influenced in Asean Summit?

YANGON- Myanmar is now hosting 25th Asean Summit and its related meetings held in Nay Pyi Taw, a new capital, starting from November 9. The heads of the States/Governments will attend the Summit.

High Ranking Official Meeting is being held on November 9 to 11. Myanmar will hold continuously the summit of top leaders on November 12 and 13.

Although South China Sea dispute had been influenced by during last 24th Asean Summit held in Myanmar in May and Asean Regional Forum held in August, concentration on Myanmar affairs was very few.

However, Myanmar affairs may be played a vital role in 25th Asean Summit. While influencing Myanmar affairs that may be taken part in informal meetings of top leaders than the formal discussions.

Why can Myanmar affairs influence?

Normally, the meetings of ASEAN Community-AC, Asean Economic Community-AEC 2015 had been used to hold in ASEAN Summit. Since the beginning of late 2013, the implementation of ASEAN’s strategy-2015 had been fronted as a goal.

At ASEAN Summit held before in 2011, Myanmar issue was influenced as a regional problem. The government had faced the pressures on government’s oppression, human rights’ abuses so also ignorance about the rights of a handful of people.

In 2011, there were changes appeared in Myanmar. President Thein Sein and his government body had taken power by chanting the slogan: national reconsolidation reform process. As the result of chanting the slogan, the ASEAN leaders handed over Myanmar to act as the alternate Chairman of ASEAN Summit-2014.

In the past, Myanmar had a chance to take the responsibility of alternate ASEAN chairmanship, but a chance had been missed as the U.S. and European Union had rejected a chance of ASEAN alternate chairman due to Myanmar’s bad situations.

During last four years, the international countries made a special attention to Myanmar’s reform process and provided necessary assistances to Myanmar.

While President Thein Sein's administration has only a year left in office, Myanmar’s reform process has not reached as the expectations. Because there were no abilities to settle political crisis and to reduce the increasing of poverty alleviation so also it is uncertain to implement the local peace deal and there was no justice.

Due to the ASEAN framework that includes self-interest of each ASEAN members’ countries and the ASEAN leaders had agreed not to interfere in the other regional affairs.

That’s why ASEAN countries and international leaders had ignored Myanmar reforms stalled, at present it is difficult for them to ignore the reform stalled.

Those difficulties may be affected the 25th ASEAN Summit in conjunction with 9th APEC forum.

The world leaders including the U.S. President Barack Obama are going to attend the Summit and their speeches regarding the Myanmar’s affairs may give the pressures on President Thein Sein’s government.

During the last ASEAN Summits, South-China deep sea dispute which is the interest of some ASEAN member counties had to influence Myanmar’s affairs; but the feasibilities are very less to become the influence of South-China deep sea dispute during current Summit.

Two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation-APEC to be held in China from November 10 will discuss not only South-China deep sea dispute but also controversial issue of China’s water territory.

The result of South-China deep sea dispute based on APEC may be likely released at the Nay Pyi Taw’s ASEAN Summit.

There were no significant results except the agreement to solve South-China deep sea dispute peacefully.

The leaders from 21 Asia-Pacific regions including U.S. President Barack Obama will attend the APEC summit.

Now, China is a Chairman of APEC for 2014and it may discuss matters only benefit for the country during the APEC. Among the APEC countries, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam are now involving the water dispute with China.

The Philippines will act as a Chairman of APEC for 2015 so also Malaysia will be ASEAN alternate Chairmanship for 2015. Therefore it is likely that the issues of South-China Sea dispute may be influenced only in 2015.

There have many tensions between Philippines and China concerning the South-China sea dispute. Malaysia is also involving in the controversial sea dispute.

Those basic facts are describing that Myanmar affairs may become coverage than the South-China sea dispute during the 25th ASEAN Summit.

The U.S. pressure

With the aims to create an exit of political crisis and currently Myanmar reform stalled, President Thein Sein held a meeting with Myanmar’s political leaders in Nay Pyi Taw on October 31.

Government had withdrawn from holding of four-party meeting that was demanded by the Public icon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. However, the meeting of political leaders was just for show and there was no result.

The criticisms are now spreading out that the government held a timely meeting of political leaders because the U.S. President Obama would pay a second visit Myanmar before ASEAN Summit.

After holding a meeting with political leaders, Aung Thaung, one of the top leaders of ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, Banks and Financial Development Committee, the former minister for Industry-1, was blacklisted by the United States on October 31.

The information pointed out that the U.S. was still paying attention to Myanmar’s affairs and they warned Myanmar government that they were now handling Myanmar’s affairs under Carrot and Stick theory.

The awareness of Myanmar’s affairs and its related U.S. steps had been affected to the Obama’s first visits to Nay Pyi Taw out of second time in Myanmar.

Display before Obama visit

U.S. President Obama had visited Myanmar in 2011 for the first time. During his first visit, he used metaphor of Myanmar’s situation as Flicker of Light.

Obama will be arriving in Myanmar at the evening of November 12 to attend East-Asian Summit and to meet President Thein Sein and public leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi separately.

In a press conference held on November 5, Suu Kyi said that the reform process has ‘stalled’ and warned the U.S. of being over-optimistic about the country’s democratization.

U.S Ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell in an interview with VOA on November 9 said that U.S President Obama is closely watching Myanmar.

"In his (President Obama) visit to Myanmar, he himself will listen and decide what the progresses are and what changes takes place in Myanmar. The President will examine Myanmar's progress and decide what kind of help he can give to Myanmar for continue practicing of partnership in Myanmar's transformation," said the ambassador.

President Obama's visit this time may differ with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry's August visit to Myanmar as this time; there may be urges and some pressure.

On November 6, Myanmar's Human Rights Resolution (draft) was submitted at the United Nations' General Assembly before President Obama's Myanmar visit.  The calls for solving the problems challenging human rights affairs, and to protect journalists and human rights activists were made.

On November 5, Human Rights Watch (HRW) based in United States made an insist on Obama .

HRW urged the President to hold an effective discussion with President Thein Sein not to turn back Myanmar's democratization process while he is in Myanmar.

Besides, HRW also stressed that discussing with the Myanmar President on major factors for Myanmar's democratization, such as amending the constitution before 2015 election, freezing the peace process deal and other matters need clear and decisive discussion.

HRW stressed that if there is no implementations, notice should be given on stopping of all assistances.

The letters of US Congressmen to President Obama

Forty-four US Congressmen sent a letter to President Obama on November 7. In that letter, Congressmen urged the President Obama to give pressure on becoming a free and fair election in 2015, and to discuss matters that prevent Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming a president on his visit to Myanmar.

The U.S Congressmen stated that still existing of political prisoners, decreases in freedom of news and media, conflicts happened in places where ethnic situated, igniting hatred on Bengalis in Rakhine State showed that Myanmar's transforming into democracy came to a stop.

The letter of U.S Congressmen also asked for amending the constitution, stopping the clashes occurred in places where ethnics live, military and the government to participate in national reconciliations. They also demanded the President Obama to put in the black list if they (people from military and government) lack involve in cooperation and take action.

Before the Congressmen sent the letter to the President, more than 20 Senators also sent a letter to President Obama and asked for exerting pressure on Myanmar government.

On a Reuters News published on November 4, President Obama will press the President Thein Sein for free, fair, open and credible election according to a senior U.S official.

"Myanmar government has made a number of meaningful steps in the reform direction but we also clearly knew about the facts that the progress has been uneven and we are greatly concerned," said the senior official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

U.S officials insist that Obama will not go easy on President Thein Sein and Myanmar government; there will be no announcements on further easing of sanctions, no removal of names from U.S Blacklist, and no new military-to military cooperation according to Obama aides.

These factors seem to become influence in coming Asean Summit and outside of summit.

How will Myanmar influence

Asean leaders will sign a Nay Pyi Taw Framework in building Asean Community at the 25th Asean Summit. Declarations on economic, social and cultural will also release.

On 9th Asean Summit, four declarations have appeared. They are prevention of natural disasters, cooperation to combat terrorism, e-bola disease and environmental changes.

Such kinds of declarations and agreements will be emerged from regular meeting by the Asean leaders but discussion on Myanmar may take place in private meetings of leaders and separate meetings between two countries according to Dr. Yan Myo Thein, political article writer.

“At present, Myanmar is a country with lowest per capital income compared with GDP of ten Asean countries. Myanmar is the least developed country and became lower than Laos.  Myanmar is a country with least developed nation and at the same time faces many political challenges. These problems have to be discussed at the Asean. If these are not discussed, Asean's dignity will be affected,” said Dr Yan Myo Thein.

The current moment is a time Asean has to cooperate concerning Myanmar and Myanmar’s affairs is connecting with Asean affairs.

Myanmar political affairs expert Bartil Litner, a Swedish journalist, said Myanmar reforming is not stopping but its government has previously decided not to implement its reform process more than the present situation.

“Asean never support the flourishing of democracy. In Asean member countries, there are countries with totally no democracy (for example, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei) and countries with the pretext of democracy (for example-Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia). At present Thailand is under military rule.  Therefore, among Asean countries, Indonesia and the Philippines are the democracy countries,” said the journalist.

To sum up, the most pressure will be coming from United States and its alliance, and social organizations concerning Myanmar at the Nay Pyi Taw Summit and it will influence the summit.

Sumber - Eleven Myanmar

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