Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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Suu Kyi ally set to take presidency in Myanmar

Posted by pakin On March - 22 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

HOUSE SPEAKER WIN MYINT TIPPED TO REPLACE ILL HTIN KYAW AS NEW TITULAR HEAD OF STATE

Win Myint, a trusted aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, is tipped to become Myanmar’s new head of state after President U Htin Kyaw resigned yesterday due to health reasons.

Analysts, however, expect no other changes in the government.

Shortly after the President’s Office announced the resignation of Htin Kyaw, Lower House speaker Win Myint also put in his papers.

The resignation of the two senior political figures took place only a day after Suu Kyi returned home after the Australia-Asean special summit where the Rohingya crisis was comprehensively discussed and Asean was urged to play a bigger role.

While Asean has followed its traditional policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of a member country, Suu Kyi has been strongly criticised for her role in handling the situation. The United Nations’ human rights body has pointed to a possible genocide since August when violence forced some 700,000 people to flee from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

Htin Kyaw took office after the National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in the 2015 election. His role in the administration was ceremonial as Suu Kyi, who was barred by the military-sponsored constitution from the position, created for herself the position of State Counsellor, effectively becoming the de facto leader.

Htin Kyaw is an old school friend of Suu Kyi, who was loyal to her and advised her at the peak of her political struggle and house arrest. The 71-year-old president, who has had a heart problem in the past, has been in poor health and was found to have lost a lot of weight recently. He reportedly received medical treatment in Thailand.

Politicians in Myanmar told The Nation that Htin Kyaw’s move to step down was due to health problems.

“We believe President Htin Kyaw resigned from his post because of his health. We need to respect his decision,” said NLD spokesperson Monywa Aung Shin.

“We’ve been hearing about President Htin Kyaw’s medical treatment for a long time. Everybody knows that he needs to take rest. So, we are not surprised by this development,” said Nanda Hla Myint, spokesperson of the rival Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The USDP was the ruling party during the previous administration under General Thein Sein.

Win Myint, 66, who is tipped to be the new president, is also a long-time trusted Suu Kyi loyalist. He served on the NLD’s executive committee for many years. He became House speaker after the 2015 election victory because of his background in law.

According to the constitution, Myanmar’s parliament would appoint a new president within a week.

Vice President Myint Swe, a retired general who took the position under the military quota, will be the acting president until the new head of state is appointed.

Analysts said the new president must be someone who is trusted by Suu Kyi. “We strongly believe Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will make an excellent choice again, selecting another capable leader who can lead the government and the country in line with NLD’s mission, vision and regulations,” said Monywa Aung Shin, an NLD executive committee member.

“Anyone who she selects as president will be someone she has complete trust in,” independent analyst Richard Horsey was quoted as saying by AFP. “That trust is the basis of her being the seat of power in Myanmar. She has no power under the constitution. Any power comes from that relationship with the president.”

Nanda Hla Myint agreed, saying, “We believe that the new president will be the second U Htin Kyaw – the one who she can trust, who obeys her, who is capable of making her desires happen, and who is really willing to follow her instructions. So, there will be no significant impacts.

“We do not expect many changes in Myanmar’s political climate due to this announcement. We believe Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be able to lead the State even though U Htin Kyaw resigned from his post,” he said.

Maung Maung Lay, vice president of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the private sector understands the nature of political change and is willing to cooperate with the new president.

 

Asean takes calm tack on South China Sea

Posted by pakin On November - 14 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Parties agree to work towards new code of conduct governing disputes.

ASEAN PUSHED for early negotiations on the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea during the 31st Asean Summit and 20th Asean-China Summit yesterday.

In a continued effort since the CoC framework was adopted during the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in August, both sides agreed to kick off negotiations by early next year, a source said.

The CoC, while not itself an instrument to manage territorial disputes, takes the sides a step closer to realising a legally binding tool regarding territories contested by China and four Asean countries.

Host country Philippines, one of the contestants, had appeared to preserve its original stance on the long-contested sea, before releasing it in a document seen by The Nation.

Two paragraphs mentioning the South China Sea were softer than those in earlier joint communiques released after the AMM.

The Philippines, which chairs Asean this year, has taken a soft stance over territorial disputes with China since the current administration under President Rodrigo Duterte came to power.

Members of Asean, including the Philippines and Vietnam, have been at loggerheads with China over territorial disputes in the contentious sea for decades. The issue always raises temperatures at Asean meetings, but received a relatively calm reception this year as conflicting parties sought to compromise.

Vietnam and China agreed yesterday to back away from conflicts in the South China Sea, in a move aimed at easing tensions over Beijing’s claims to most of the waterway, according to an AFP report from Hanoi.

Hanoi and Beijing agreed to maintain peace in the seas, the countries said in a joint statement during a state visit to Hanoi by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

They agreed to “well manage disputes at sea, make no moves that may complicate or expand disputes, [and] maintain peace and stability on the East Sea”, the Vietnamese version of the statement said, using Hanoi’s term for the sea.

During a meeting at the Asean-China summit in Manila, leaders of both sides said they had agreed to officially commence negotiations with China on the CoC. “[We] trust that we will continue this positive momentum and work towards a substantive and effective CoC,” a statement said.

They also called the situation “calmer”, a rare official note on the conflicting sea, adding that the detente “cannot [be taken] for granted and needs further cooperation”.

Under Duterte, the Philippines has shifted its approach from collectively calling on Asean to cope with China to a more “friendly” approach to negotiations.

That stance was reiterated yesterday by Philippine presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who also recalled Duterte’s bilateral meeting with President Xi during the Apec Summit last week in Vietnam.

“[Duterte] opted for friendly relations with China and also reinstates warmer [relations] with Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia,” Roque said, referring to all countries contesting the “West Philippine Sea”, as the Philippines refers to the body.

“It is not in the interest of either China or the Philippines to resort to military forces. China is also pursuing with bilateral [talks] with every claimant.”

“It is a hope of all Asean countries that the CoC will be concluded as soon as possible,” he added

 

Huge Japanese business delegation focuses on EEC

Posted by pakin On September - 12 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

About 50% of FDI for first half of the year comes from single economic partner.

AS A MASSIVE delegation from Japan visits the Kingdom, Thailand expected them to boost investment in infrastructure, particularly for dual-rail, high-speed trains, by next year to steer development in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.

Other infrastructure projects encouraged by Prayut included ports, aviation and digital systems in line with the 10 new industrial groups targeted to become Thailand’s economic growth engines. “The first five years will focus on these developments. I look to Japan as a good example of train development,” Prayut said.

“In the future, there will also be developments in the West, North and the South. We have to integrate all these plans to connect investments and services, not only among regional provinces but also with CLMV countries,” he said, referring to the grouping of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The Thai government also expected to facilitate development in the EEC by creating fast tracks such as encouraging more “public-private-people” cooperation, he said.

Thailand plans to invest about Bt700 billion to construct and develop infrastructure in the EEC as part of a five-year plan.

The Kingdom also looked forward to new cooperation and exchanges in industry, innovation and technology as well as support for SMEs, the premier said.

With Japanese SMEs contributing greatly to that country’s economy, accounting for more than 90 per cent of businesses in Japan, Prayut said he expected that they and around 3 million Thai SMEs could help to support each other in creating jobs.

Prayut welcomed at Government House yesterday Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Investment, along with 570 high-level Japanese business people, representatives from economic organisations and SME entrepreneurs who are visiting Thailand from yesterday until tomorrow.

Seko referred to Thailand’s crucial role as Asean’s industrial hub, which Japanese companies have utilised for a long time. “The numbers of Japanese research and development facilities in Thailand is one example,” the minister said. “Our economic-centric cooperation is going to step up as high-level industry development.”

 

Thai military ready to aid Philippines

Posted by pakin On July - 26 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) is ready to send troops to the restive city of Marawi to provide humanitarian aid if the Philippines seeks help from Thailand.

Lt Gen Chatchai Patranavik, chief of the RTA’s Counter Terrorist Operations Centre, says if requested, Thai troops could be deployed to Marawi to provide humanitarian aid for residents affected by the conflict against local militants claiming links to the Islamic State (IS) group.

The relief would be provided under the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) programme. He stressed they would not engage in any combat.

At present, only military advisers from Australia and the United States are deployed in and around Marawi.

“We [Thailand] would have to position ourselves carefully in this operation. Otherwise, we could invite trouble for ourselves. However, if the Philippines seeks help from us, we have to be ready. It is just preparation,” an army source said.

Lt Gen Chatchai was speaking during the 7th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus Experts’ Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, held in Bangkok.

The meeting, co-chaired by the Thai and Chinese Defence ministries, aimed to discuss anti-terrorist measures. More than 100 representatives from Asean member countries attended the meeting.

Speaking about the IS issue, Lt Gen Chatchai said there have been no reports of IS activities in the country. He admitted individuals connected to IS had earlier entered the country but have since left.

 

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