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Asean Affairs   29  July  2011

Suu Kyi takes the initiative in Myanmar

By  David Swartzemtruber

AseanAffairs     29 July 2011

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Two things appear to be happening in Myanmar.

The first think may be and I emphasize, may, is that the military regime is getting the message that its recent Myanmar election is being recognized throughout the rest of the world as a sham.

That message was implied when the Asean community delayed a decision on Myanmar assuming the Asean chairmanship in 2014. The United States through channels made it clear to Asean that they would not support Myanmar’s chairmanship unless substantial progress was made in human rights issues.

The second item is that the first talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the new, nominally civilian government occurred on Monday, when she met with labor minister Aung Kyi for more than an hour. The meeting came after the US called for "concrete" progress towards democracy.

Following that, she sent a letter to Myanmar president Thein Sein, a former general, calling on the army and ethnic groups to end the ongoing armed conflicts that have been going on for decades.

She said, "I am ready to do as much as I can to support the ceasefire and the peace process." Before this week, she made her first trip outside of Yangon and now plans a trip to Bago in the north of Myanmar, in August.

Suu Kyi must play her cards carefully, as the isolationist and paranoid military junta gets easily unsettled over her popularity among the Myanmar people and the respect she has gained throughout the rest of the world.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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