Dec 6, 2011

Clinton: Myanmar possible to become Asia-Pacific power

At the press conference held at Thingaha Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw on 1 December, Mrs. Hilary Clinton said, “This country was considered the jewel of Asia, a center of higher learning and the rice bowl of the region. In the last half century, other countries have raced ahead and turned East Asia into one of the world’s great centers of dynamic growth and opportunity. So the most consequential question facing this country, both leaders and citizens, is not your relationship with the United States or with any other nation. It is whether leaders will let their people live up to their God-given potential and claim their place at the heart of the 21st century, a Pacific century. There is no guarantee how that question will be answered. If the question is not answered in a positive way, then once again, the people could be left behind. But if it is answered in a positive way, I think the potential is unlimited.”

Mrs. Clinton continued, “I’m told there is an old Burmese proverb which says, “When it rains, collect water.” Well, we don’t know yet if the path to democracy is irreversible, as one of the leaders told me today, if the opening of the economy will be considered a positive and moved quickly to achieve. So the question is not for me to answer. The question is for all of you, particularly leaders, to answer. But we owe it to nearly 60 million people who seek freedom, dignity, and opportunity to do all we can to make sure that question is answered positively.”

Regarding with this, President U Thein Sein replied that as the country was on the right tract of flourishing democracy and today’s endeavors of the government won the internal and international supports, Myanmar has no plan to make a u-turn.

Mrs. Clinton continued, “President Obama spoke of flickers of progress. Well, we know from history that flickers can die out. They can even be stamped out. Or they can be ignited. It will be up to the leaders and the people to fan those flickers of progress into flames of freedom that light the path toward a better future. That and nothing less is what it will take for us to turn a solitary visit into a lasting partnership. As I told President U Thein Sein earlier today, the United States is prepared to walk the path of reform with you if you choose to keep moving in that direction. And there’s no doubt that direction is the right one for the people.”

Many people are of the view that Mrs. Clinton’s visit to Myanmar is a historic journey, and it will benefit bilateral relation between Myanmar and the United States. Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann unveiled this comment to Mrs. Hilary Clinton during their meeting.

Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker continued, “The world is interested in her visit to Myanmar. Myanmar people fully appreciate it. If bilateral relation between Myanmar and the United States has improved, then stability, peace and development will flourish not only in Myanmar, the United States, China, India and ASEAN countries, but also in other countries across the world.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also remarked that the visit of the US Secretary of State is productive. It is hopeful that bilateral relation between Myanmar and the United States could be promoted.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said reporters on 2 December, “We are so happy that Secretary Clinton had very good meetings at Nay Pyi Taw, and we are happy with the way in which the United States is engaging with us. It is through engagement that we hope to promote the process of democratization. In this morning, I read the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry that they welcome the improvement of Myanmar-US relation. It means that the world is supporting us.”

Chairman & CEO Dr. Than Htut Aung of the Eleven Media Group also commented, “Initially, I cautiously welcome the visit of Mrs. Clinton. Political prisoners have not released. Political changes have been delayed. In this circumstance, it was doubtful if the visit of Mrs. Clinton whether will be effective. Actually, Mrs. Clinton was very good at tact and diplomacy. She knew more about
Myanmar officials and citizens than I have expected. This is a historic visit which is effective for Myanmar and its nationals. It is also believed that both the government and the people could benefit from her visit. If the government releases political prisoners including U Khun Tun Oo and Ko Min Ko Naing, and could implement economic reforms, then Myanmar is sure to become a regional power country like Indonesia within 15 years. As our country is still behind the rest of other country in the development, we should not go step by step. While other countries are taking one step, we must walk with a quick light step.”

In this regard, Saya Ludu Sein Win said, “Myanmar people have great expectation of Mrs. Clinton’s visit, their hopes should materialize. If promises failed to materialize, people would feel frustrated. Promises have not implemented yet. Pledges from both governments are still at the stage of words. Effective changes for the welfare of public have not been seen until now. Fares of trains and buses, as well as postal charges, are increasing. Pragmatic changes should be created for the public. Ko Zarnargar said while he was released from prison that he felt that as he was captured in Somali. Political prisoners should not be regarded as a card of political game. All the political prisoners should be freed.”

Chairman Dr. Aye Maung from Amyotha Hluttaw of Governments Pledges, Promises and Guarantees Scrutinizing Committee said, “As Mrs. Clinton was the first US Secretary of State who visited Myanmar over 50 years, she met the President as well as Speakers of both hluttaws and asked them to keep promises, especially not to make a u-turn. They should keep their promises. Myanmar people agree to strengthen ties with the United States. Speaker of the Amyotha Hluttaw also said it. We must encourage the responsible persons not to make a u-turn, and to keep their promises.”

Source: Weekly 11 News