Historic Chance for Myanmar Peace Probably Scuttled

Historic Chance for Myanmar Peace Probably ScuttledThe omens are far from rosy for a February meeting scheduled as a step forward in ending Myanmar's seven decades-long ethnic conflict.  The first meeting, held in September 2016, was named after the historic Panglong Conference in 1947 at Panglong in the Shan States between ethnic minority leaders and Aung San, the head of the…

India Looks to Counter Chinese influence in Myanmar

India Looks to Counter Chinese influence in MyanmarThe visit in late August of Myanmar President Htin Kyaw to India underscores Naypyidaw’s difficulties on the foreign policy front.While the State Counsellor and  Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi headed to China on her first foreign visit outside of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Htin Kyaw’s first foreign visit was to India. Naypyidaw…

Myanmar’s Panglong Peace Summit Kicks Off

Myanmar’s Panglong Peace Summit Kicks OffAn important step towards returning peace to Myanmar, after more than six decades of civil war, kicks off today, Aug. 31, with the start of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference. Previous efforts to bring all the ethnic rebel groups to the negotiating table have failed for various reasons, largely the gaping mistrust between successive…

Aung San Suu Kyi Goes to China

Aung San Suu Kyi Goes to ChinaIn former times, Burmese and foreign observers considered Burma’s generals well versed at playing international powers off against one another. Now it is Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s current de facto leader, who is visiting China. Many in the region, and in the West, will be assessing her diplomatic skills in engaging the Chinese and reconciling China’s…

Myanmar’s Best Chance for Internal Peace

Myanmar’s Best Chance for Internal PeaceFrom the moment it took power earlier this year, Myanmar's new administration has promoted peace as its top priority. Authorities are pinning their hopes on the 21st Century Panglong Conference, named for the Panglong Agreement held in 1947 in a village by the same name in Shan State.  Although it may be the best chance…

Chaos in Myanmar’s Jadeite Industry

Chaos in Myanmar’s Jadeite IndustrySomewhere in Mandalay in central Myanmar, a crane hoists a two-tonne rock onto an unobtrusive truck. Yawning, the truck driver secures the boulder and covers the open back with canvas. It is 2 am and the driver sets off with his partner, both boosted with an inexhaustible supply of caffeine. The twisting, unlit mountain roads…

The Mytsone Dam: Myanmar’s NLD Dilemma

The Mytsone Dam: Myanmar’s NLD DilemmaMyanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, is about to face a tough policy test: whether to restart or permanently halt the construction of the Myitsone Dam, a major irritant in Sino-Burmese relations. Agreed between China Power International (CPI) and the now-departed junta in the early 2000s, the project was…

Myanmar’s New Democracy’s First Task: Ethnic Conflict

Myanmar’s New Democracy’s First Task: Ethnic ConflictThe swearing in on March 30 of Htin Kyaw, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), as Myanmar’s first truly civilian President since 1962 might seem the light at the end of the tunnel for a country that last year saw the first democratic elections in decades. But more realistically,…

The Challenges to Democracy in Myanmar

The Challenges to Democracy in MyanmarPriscilla Clapp is the former chief of mission at the US Embassy in Myanmar. In an extended report for the Washington, DC-based Council on Foreign Relations, she analyzes the results of the November 2105 elections and recommends the steps the United States and other western powers must take as they seek to bring the country…

Myanmar’s National League for Democracy Consolidates Power

Myanmar’s National League for Democracy Consolidates PowerDespite fears that Chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi will be blocked from seeking the presidency of Myanmar, her party, the National League for Democracy,  appears to be consolidating power all the way down the line. A week ahead of the scheduled formal presidential nominations, a senior NLD member has told the media that the heads…
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