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ASEAN-Burma relations

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Myanmar as middle power
Date of publication: 21 May 2014
Description/subject: "Burma is becoming a regional player in Southeast Asia. Just a few years ago the suggestion that Burma might become a responsible stakeholder in the Southeast Asian community would have been derided and laughed off. Yet 2014 sees Burma chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the first time. It is an unprecedented moment in the country’s history given its isolation from the international community for much of the last fifty years..."
Author/creator: Gareth Robinson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 July 2014


Title: Myanmar’s ASEAN challenges
Date of publication: 13 May 2014
Description/subject: "What can Myanmar’s chairmanship learn from the European Union members’ divided position on external affairs, such as the deep, public disagreements associated with the Iraq war, the incapacity to produce collective action during the EU’s reaction to the 2011 Libyan crisis, and again the unwillingness to share a common initiative in response to the more recent developments in Mali? It is a discouraging question, particularly in the light of the EU High Representative’s apparent obsession with the ‘reality of 27 member states who are sovereign, who believe passionately in their right to determine what they do’, as Ashton argued in 2011. As disagreements within the European Union have seriously damaged the relations among the member states as well as the political development of the EU as a whole, a major message from a European view lies in the conviction that divisions weaken any project of integration and the attempt to create a united community, which ASEAN plans to achieve by 2015..."
Author/creator: Ludovica Marchi
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 July 2014


Title: Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia - text
Date of publication: 24 February 1976
Description/subject: "The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia is a peace treaty among Southeast Asian countries established by the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a geo-political and economic organization of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia." [Wikipedia]
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASEAN Secretariat
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 July 2009


Title: "BurmaNet News" ASEAN archive
Description/subject: Archive from March 2005
Language: English
Source/publisher: Various sources via "BurmaNet News"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 April 2012


Title: ASEAN Secretariat
Description/subject: Treaties, economic, political, cultural, strategic interaction, home pages of ASEAN countries etc.
Language: English
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: ASEAN Secretariat's Profile of Union of Myanmar
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASEAN Secretariat
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: International (Category archive from BurmaNet News)
Description/subject: Articles on this category from BurmaNet News
Language: English
Source/publisher: BurmaNet News
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 March 2016


Title: Results of a Google site-specific search for "Myanmar" on the ASEAN secretariat site
Description/subject: 8,250 results (May 2005)
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASEAN Secretariat
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 23 May 2005


Title: Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia - Wikipedia page
Description/subject: "The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia is a peace treaty among Southeast Asian countries established by the founding members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a geo-political and economic organization of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Wikipedia
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 July 2009


Individual Documents

Title: HUMAN RIGHTS IN ASEAN: Briefing Materials for the US-ASEAN Summit: Sunnylands Estate, California, February 15-16, 2016
Date of publication: 16 February 2016
Description/subject: SUMMARY: "When US President Barack Obama first articulated his administration’s goal of a diplomatic rebalance to Asia, he outlined three areas in which the US government would focus its attentions: increased strategic and military ties, better economic integration, and greater attention to promoting democracy and human rights. Obama outlined the last prong of the rebalance in a speech in Australia on November 17, 2011: -Every nation will chart its own course. Yet it is also true that certain rights are universal; amongthem, freedom of speech, freedom ofthe press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and the freedom of citizens to choose their own leaders. -These are not American rights ... or Western rights. These are human rights. They stir in every soul, as we’ve seen in the democracies that have succeeded here in Asia. Other models have been tried and they have failed - fascism and communism, rule by one man or rule by committee. And they failed for the same simple reason: they ignore the ultimate source of power and legitimacy - the will ofthe people. On February 15-16, 2016, President Obama will host 10 government leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) fora summit at the Sunnylands estate in California. For decades, the United States government has viewed ASEAN as an important economic, security, and political partner, and has forged closer ties with ASEAN countries as they have undergone major economic and political changes. In recent years, some countries, such as the Philippines and Indonesia, have made steady though uneven progress toward becoming democratic states with increasing respect for basic human rights. Most recently, in November 2015 the military junta in Burma allowed the opposition to contest elections and accepted the landslide victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy— though it still maintains broad constitutional powers and de facto control over security forces and large parts ofthe economy. Many ASEAN countries, however, continue to be plagued by deep-seated political and economic problems. As the chapters below outline, most of ASEAN’s 10 members have extraordinarily poor human rights records. Beyond the lack of basic freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly in many countries, problems across ASEAN include restrictions on civil society, failures on women’s rights, the political use of courts, high-level corruption, lack of protection of refugees and asylum seekers, human trafficking, and abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. For President Obama, the February 2016 US-ASEAN summit represents another chapter in the continuing efforts to rebalance attention to the Asia region. For many of ASEAN’s leaders—in particular those who have not come to power through free and fair elections— the summit represents an unearned diplomatic reward: a robust US reaffirmation of their sought-for legitimacy as leaders ofthe 615 million people who live in ASEAN. One particularly egregious example is the invitation to the summit for Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, who took power in a 2014 military coup, dismantled democratic institutions, and has led a relentless crackdown on critics and dissidents. Prayut has consistently delayed the date for a return to democratic rule, making it clear that he expects the army to manage the country’s affairs even after a vote for a new parliament is held. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung of Vietnam and President Choummaly Sayasone of Laos preside over one-party authoritarian states that deny basic freedoms and use censorship, detention, and torture to maintain their party’s hold on power. The communist party of each country has been in power since 1975 and have shown no interest in moving towards pluralism or genuine elections. The sultan of Brunei, Hassal Bolkiah, is one ofthe world’s few remaining hereditary government leaders and has imposed a near complete ban on freedoms of expression, association, and assembly. He plans to increase the imposition of Islamic law punishments, including whipping and stoning, foradultery, sex between unmarried persons, and homosexual activity. The prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, retained power in 2014 after a deeply flawed electoral process in which his party, which has been in power since 1967, lost the popular vote. Implicated in a major corruption scandal, he has engaged in a broad crackdown on Malaysia’s political opposition, civil society organizations, and media..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: pdf (5.6MB-reduced version; 15MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/HRW-2016-02-16-US-ASEAN-Summit_Human_Rights_in_ASEAN-en.pdf
https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/supporting_resources/asean_02_16.pdf
Date of entry/update: 09 March 2016


Title: Female faces at the ASEAN Summit in Naypyitaw
Date of publication: 14 November 2014
Description/subject: "Most photo coverage of the 25th ASEAN Summit in Naypyitaw this week concentrates on men. It’s likely the only female faces to appear in the Summit’s headlines will be Indonesia’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, South Korea’s President Park Guen-hye, and US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Over the last two days, New Mandala shifted its camera lens to capture but a handful of the female faces at the Summit..."
Author/creator: Olivia Cable
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 December 2014


Title: Pre-game in Naypyitaw
Date of publication: 13 November 2014
Description/subject: "This year’s ASEAN Summit isn’t just for convention junkies. Naypyitaw, not yet officially a decade old, has expanded this week with states-people and their respective entourages flying in from the APEC Summit in Beijing. Watching Naypyitaw prepare for the Summit earlier in the week could prove to be more exciting than the waiting we’re now doing for consensus around the ASEAN table. This week, the Myanmar Police Force are in full swing. Blowing whistles, whirling sirens and flashing blinkers, they’re securing Naypyitaw and its peripheries every hour of the day. While the police force has previously been overshadowed by the armed forces in Myanmar’s turbulent history, the police has evolved as a key instrument of control by the current civilian-military hybrid government. In their blue combat helmets, ankle-high black polished boots, waist belts fastened with state-of-the-art wooden sling-shots and distinctive insignia on their uniforms, the police look the part and are working to prevent criminal activity and terrorist attacks. Stationed throughout Naypyitaw—they are blocking traffic from entering the twelve-lane highway that runs past Myanmar’s National Assembly until Saturday. At intersections, hotels, makeshift gates and even the entrance of the Gem Museum, in all their glory, the police dominate Naypyitaw’s streetscapes this week..."
Author/creator: Olivia Cable
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 December 2014


Title: The 25th ASEAN Summit in Naypyitaw
Date of publication: 11 November 2014
Description/subject: "This week the 25th ASEAN Summit descends on Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw. Chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, Myanmar has already host a plethora of regional meetings. This week is particularly significant—it is Myanmar’s grand finale until the chair rotates back to Myanmar in the next ten years or so. From 11 to 13 November 2014, heads of state from ASEAN’s ten-member states and ASEAN’s dialogue partners will take their seats around the tables at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-I..."
Author/creator: Olivia Cable
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 December 2014


Title: Myanmar, ASEAN, and the China Challenge
Date of publication: 07 August 2014
Description/subject: As this year’s ASEAN Chair, Myanmar will face pressure from the pro- and anti-China camps...As Myanmar gears up to host this weekend’s ASEAN Regional Forum, it may find that its role is both a blessing and a curse. While Myanmar welcomes its chance in the spotlight as ASEAN Chair, that role is increasingly difficult to play. Maritime disputes in the South China Sea threaten to turn each ASEAN meeting into a tug of war between anti- and pro-China forces...Myanmar’s role as ASEAN Chair is a huge diplomatic headache. The ASEAN Chair wields enormous influence over ASEAN meetings, and there’s a lot of pressure for the host nation to fall in line with either the anti-China or pro-China camps. In 2010, for example, Vietnam made the South China Sea disputes a major issue in regional summits (much to China’s dismay). By contrast, in 2012, Cambodia scuttled talks rather than allow the maritime disputes to dominate the agenda. This pressure is multiplied for Myanmar. On the one hand, the country is making concerted efforts to improve its relations with other ASEAN members, and with the West, which adds pressure not to sideline the South China Sea disputes. On the other hand, China remains incredibly important to Myanmar, especially economically—China remains Myanmar’s largest trading partner and largest source of foreign direct investment. An anti-China ASEAN summit could have huge economic and political ramifications for Myanmar..."
Author/creator: Shannon Tiezzi
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Diplomat"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 August 2014


Title: Asean and the Lady
Date of publication: 26 December 2010
Description/subject: Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest offers Asean a chance to re-engage with Burma on the issue of democratic reform
Author/creator: Kavi Choingkittavorn
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 12
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 26 December 2010


Title: Myanmar’s 2010 Elections and International Legitimacy: A Perspective on ASEAN’s Stance vis-à-vis Naypyidaw
Date of publication: November 2010
Description/subject: CONCLUSION: "ASEAN governments appreciate that Myanmar’s elections are going to be flawed in more ways than one and—given the constitutional framework— will also leave the military controlling the reins of political power. However, they are not likely to question Myanmar’s international legitimacy on the back of the country’s first elections in 20 years. Indeed, the expectation is that the elections will be an important step toward a different political order, which will be able to positively impact on domestic stability and reform. Some may thus hope that over time, giving life to the new constitution will serve to break at least some internal cycles of conflict. Equally, ASEAN countries are bound to maintain that Myanmar’s overall track record in conducting its bilateral affairs and in working toward ASEAN’s stated objectives in the context of the formation of the ASEAN Community also does not project the question of international legitimacy. Whether (and how) the allegations surrounding Myanmar’s interest in a secret nuclear program might do remains to be seen."
Author/creator: Jürgen Haacke
Language: English
Source/publisher: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.
Format/size: pdf (176K)
Date of entry/update: 20 November 2010


Title: Compassion in Action: The Story of the ASEAN-Led Coordination in Myanmar
Date of publication: 31 August 2010
Description/subject: Contents: Chapter One A Storm Like No Other... Chapter Two The Tipping Point... Chapter Three Three Voices as One... Chapter Four Pioneering Joint Assessment... Chapter Five Without Trust There is Nothing... Chapter Six Where There’s a Will There’s a Way... Chapter Seven Pivotal Moments in ASEAN's Cyclone Nargis Response... Chapter Eight Moving Forward
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASEAN Secretariat
Format/size: pdf (1.98MB)
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2010


Title: Post-Nargis Needs Assessment and Monitoring: ASEAN’s Pioneering Response
Date of publication: 31 August 2010
Description/subject: Contents: Chapter One Introduction... Chapter Two Assessment... Chapter Three Review and Monitoring... Chapter Four Information System... Chapter Five Lessons and Way Forward..... List of Figures: Figure 1: The Four Phases of Post-Disaster Assessment... Figure 2: Post-Cyclone Nargis Assessments Progressed through the Whole Monitoring and Evaluation Cycle... Figure 3: Humanitarian Community’s Coordination Structure in Myanmar during the Emergency and Recovery Periods... Figure 4: Timeline of Events for the ASEAN-ERAT to PONJA... Figure 5: Timeline of Events for the VTA... Figure 6: Map of the Cyclone Nargis-Affected Area with Quadrats Overlaid... Figure 7: Timeline of Events for the DALA... Figure 8: Schedule Followed by each PR... Figure 9: Spatial Sampling Frame for the PR over the Nargis-Affected Area... Figure 10: Detailed Schedule Followed by a SIM Study... Figure 11: SIM’s Analytical Framework... Figure 12: General Schedule Followed by a SIM Study
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASEAN Secretariat
Format/size: pdf (3.71MB)
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2010


Title: Voices of Nargis Survivors: The Story of Survivors from Cyclone Nargis
Date of publication: 31 August 2010
Description/subject: Contents: Introduction... 1. Myint Myint Aye, Back from the brink... 2. Bhaddanda Kosalla, “I’d made no practical preparations. But I was prepared in my heart”... 3. Myint Swe, “Many elders were dead, and the young people asked me to help”... 4. Tun Nyein, “A snake-bite to the head”... 5. Htay Aung, “We have a brain to think, and it is up to us to work out what to do”... 6. Chit Oo “After the experience I have had, I can do a lot more to help people”... 7. The’ Su Hlaing, Building schools to be proud of... 8. Tin Win, “You just have to get your strength back and work hard”... 9. Htin Aung, Helping Myanmar help itself... 10. Ye Yint Aung, From boy to breadwinner... 11. San San Mar, Fighting for the health of her neighbours ... 12. Zaw Moe, “I’m starting to care about the future again”
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASEAN Secretariat
Format/size: pdf (1.71MB)
Date of entry/update: 04 September 2010


Title: Asean’s Democratic Divide
Date of publication: March 2010
Description/subject: "The regional grouping must overcome its ideological differences if it wants to have a real impact on Burma’s upcoming election...The Asean members calling for a free and fair election in Burma must ... persuade the rest of the grouping to join them in pressing their demands. If they fail to do this, only the junta will benefit. A sham election will be a blow not only to the hopes of the people of Burma, but also to Asean’s relevance as a regional body..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2010


Title: The Myanmar imbroglio and ASEAN: heading towards the 2010 elections
Date of publication: January 2010
Description/subject: "...three particular questions are addressed here: 1 How strong is ASEAN’s record when it comes to influencing the SPDC in relation to matters of national reconciliation and political transition? 2 What factors explain ASEAN’s role vis-à-vis Myanmar? 3 What prospect, if any, is there that ASEAN will play a significant part in trying to influence the regime to make political concessions before the 2010 elections to ensure their credibility? The article argues that, as a grouping, ASEAN has as yet not moved beyond collective criticism to induce Naypyidaw to respond positively to the main demands of its international detractors. ASEAN’s norms, different political identities, geopolitical interests and the SPDC’s prickliness have all limited ASEAN’s consensus on Myanmar. Naypyidaw’s relations with Washington, rather than ASEAN’s ‘enhanced interactions’ with the military government, and—especially—the domestic political dynamics in Myanmar, are likely to be the crucial determinants of further developments in the context of the 2010 elections..."
Author/creator: Jürgen Haacke
Language: English
Source/publisher: "International Affairs" 86: 1, 2010
Format/size: pdf (238K)
Alternate URLs: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2346.2010.00873.x/abstract
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2346.2010.00873.x/pdf
Date of entry/update: 28 October 2010


Title: As Burma Draws Fire, Asean Gets Burned
Date of publication: July 2009
Description/subject: "Asean leaders forge a tougher policy aimed at speaking the truth to Burma’s military government, but the generals fire back in words and armed clashes against ethnic Karen along the border...Needless to say, Burma has remained a major source of concern as regime leaders recently detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi inside the notorious Insein Prison, ignoring the outcry of regional leaders and the international community. If Burmese leaders are finding it difficult to find excuses to confine the Lady of the Lake, Asean leaders also are facing a dilemma: how to nurture the rogue regime into democratic reconciliation..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2009


Title: DEPUTY SECRETARY STEINBERG’S MAY 30, 2009 CONVERSATION WITH SINGAPORE MINISTER MENTOR LEE KUAN YEW
Date of publication: 04 June 2009
Description/subject: "...China is active in Latin America, Africa, and in the Gulf. Within hours, everything that is discussed in ASEAN meetings is known in Beijing, given China’s close ties with Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, he stated..."...."...Beijing is worried about its dependence on the Strait of Malacca and is moving to ease the dependence by means like a pipeline through Burma..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: US Embassy, Singapore, via Wikileaks
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2009/06/09SINGAPORE529.html
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2010


Title: THE 14th ASEAN SUMMIT: LITTLE CHANGE DESPITE CHARTER
Date of publication: 10 April 2009
Description/subject: "ASEAN leaders’ promotion of the newly enacted ASEAN Charter as an instrument of change rang hollow at the 14th ASEAN summit because of the organization’s failure to effectively deal with the problems created by the Burmese military regime. The failure was glaring. In the weeks before the ASEAN summit, ASEAN Sec-Gen Surin Pitsuwan delivered promising statements and speeches that indicated significant change for the organization. Surin’s speeches were peppered with the terms “people-centered” and “people-caring” to describe the “reinvented” ASEAN – an ASEAN with a new guiding charter. Surin said that the Charter made “all issues relevant”, and “all issues were on the table” and “nothing could be hidden”. Of all the provisions in the charter, the most widely heralded was the call for the establishment of the ASEAN Human Rights Body (AHRB). The ASEAN Secretariat’s public relations hype over the summit would have been much easier had it not been for the Rohingya boat people. The plight of the Rohingya fleeing Burma because of religious persecution represented the first test of the ASEAN Charter’s promise to make human rights and the rule of law common currency throughout the region. The test fell flat. Surin was undermined by the Terms of Reference for the ASEAN Human Rights Body and by the inability of ASEAN to unite to confront and resolve the Rohingya problem. .ASEAN leaders have not caught up with the rights and entitlements implemented in the Charter. ASEAN’s failure to address the Rohingya issue and other pressing regional problems caused by the SPDC seriously undermines authority and effectiveness of the ASEAN Charter, and ASEAN itself. ASEAN leaders must realize that the current situation threatens the credibility and the integrity of the organization..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: ALTSEAN-Burma
Format/size: pdf (148K)
Date of entry/update: 11 April 2009


Title: Getting Serious about Democracy - An Interview with Anwar Ibrahim
Date of publication: May 2006
Description/subject: Malaysia’s former deputy PM takes Asean to task for coddling Burma, and advocates greater strides towards democracy there and throughout the region
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


Title: Die ASEAN als Impulsgeber ostasiatischer Integration
Date of publication: February 2006
Description/subject: Eine Analyse des 11. ASEAN-Gipfels 2005, der Sonderrolle Burmas, das Prinzip der Nicht-Einmischung und das "konstruktive Engagement"; ASEAN-summit No. 11 in 2005, role of Burma/Myanmar; non-engagement; constructive engagement
Author/creator: Howard Loewen
Language: German, Deutsch
Source/publisher: GIGA Hamburg
Format/size: Pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 May 2008


Title: Maybe It’s the Same Old Asean
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: On the surface, it seems Asean has adopted a tougher policy towards fellow member Burma. But the grouping’s history, and the West’s new pressure for change in Rangoon, suggest otherwise... "Much has been made of Asean’s apparent new tough attitude towards its troublesome member, Burma. At the December Asean summit in Kuala Lumpur, the grouping called for movement along the Burmese regime’s professed path to democracy; a release of political prisoners, including icon Aung San Suu Kyi; and made plans for a delegation to visit Rangoon in January, to see what the generals are up to. The regime has since postponed the visit on grounds it is too busy. Even when it does happen, don’t hold your breath. The stubborn generals might simply smile nicely for photo-ops with Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar and his entourage, followed by a bit of lip-service about political reforms, a promise to release Suu Kyi sometime and so forth. That way the Asean group doesn’t lose too much face. And the generals can then go back to business as usual, as they have done so many times in the past..."
Author/creator: Bruce Kent
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


Title: The Upturned Chair
Date of publication: August 2005
Description/subject: Did Burma’s Asean move hide an ulterior motive?... "Burma is full of ironies. One surfaced at the recent Asean annual meeting in Laos, where a sigh of relief could be heard at the announcement that Burma would renounce its chairmanship of the bloc in 2006. The irony is that when Burma was welcomed into Asean in 1997, member governments thought they would be able to tame the generals and persuade them to accept social and political reforms. A bonus was offered by the possibility of plucking Burma out of China’s sphere of influence. This year, however, Asean foreign ministers wanted Burma to forgo the controversial Asean chairmanship. When it did, they were pleased. But didn’t Asean want Burma on board in order to foster movements there towards democracy? Why was it still not suitable for chairmanship?..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2006


Title: "Show Some Self-respect!" - An Interview with Debbie Stothard
Date of publication: 26 April 2005
Description/subject: Burma activist group leader speaks out on Asean dilemma... "As the 2006 date for Burma’s assumption of the Asean chairmanship draws ever closer, the organization’s policy towards Rangoon comes under increasingly close scrutiny from the Alternative Asean Network on Burma. Formed in 1996, ALTSEAN is a network of Southeast Asia activists, NGOs, academics and politicians who are working for democracy and respect for human rights in Burma. The Irrawaddy recently talked to Altsean’s co-ordinator, Debbie Stothard, about her movement’s approach to the thorny question of Burma’s suitability for chairing Asean..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2006


Title: Asean: Time to Interfere
Date of publication: April 2005
Description/subject: The Burma Asean chair issue is only first on lawmakers’ list... "In the middle of 2004, both ruling Barisan Nasional Government MPs and those from the opposition benches of the Dewan Rakyat (People’s Assembly) established the Pro-Democracy Myanmar [Burma] Caucus of the Malaysian parliament. It was something of an historical event as it was one of the rare occasions when there was a consensus among Malaysian parliamentarians from a broad political spectrum that the region was about to encounter a major diplomatic crisis which would potentially have grave implications for the region’s political and economic future. Thus, as the MP entrusted with the task of finding a realistic and practical way out of the embarrassing prospect of Myanmar taking its turn as chairman of Asean in 2006, I drew up a plan, together with my fellow members of the caucus, to treat this as an Asean-wide concern. It was decided that the best way to assess the commitment of other Asean MPs was to gather them together on a friendly basis to hear their views regarding the impending dangers that the region would inevitably face in its relations with partners who had been traditionally engaged with Asean in bilateral and multilateral dialogues.Invitations were sent to other Asean parliamentarians. Positive responses were received from five of them: Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The outcome was the formation in Kuala Lumpur in November 2004 of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus, of which I am privileged to be the chairman..."
Author/creator: Zaid Ibrahim
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 September 2010


Title: Manila Stands Firm on Burma - An Interview with Alberto G. Romulo
Date of publication: April 2005
Description/subject: Foreign Secretary Romulo Says Philippines Position “Very Clear”... "...Political disquiet within Southeast Asia about Burma’s assumption of the chairmanship of Asean at the end of 2006 is particularly strong in the Philippines. But where does the Manila government stand on the issue? The Irrawaddy interviewed Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo on this issue, and others now occupying his government… Question: Singapore’s foreign minister George Yeo and the President of the Philippine Senate, Franklin Drilon, are among those opposed to Burma taking over the chairmanship of Asean at the end of 2006. What is the policy position of the Philippines on the issue? Answer: The Philippines’ position has been very clear, repeated by President Arroyo in various Asean forums...Hanoi, Vientiane, Jakarta [and during] the visit of Burma’s Prime Minister Soe Win [to the Philippines] last month. We believe the roadmap to democracy should be followed. We urge that in that roadmap to democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi be released and that the NLD [take part in] the all-inclusive party convention. We have urged them to consider the request of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for his special envoy Ismael Razali to be received and invited in Myanmar. So these are points that we have been stressing..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2006


Title: Asean’s Albatross - An Interview with Asda Jayanama
Date of publication: March 2005
Description/subject: "Veteran Thai diplomat Asda Jayanama was recently interviewed by The Irrawaddy. Asda, now retired, was Thai ambassador to the UN from 1996-2001. In the interview, Asda—known for his outspokenness—pulls no punches as he reviews the “failed” approach by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, to Burma, called “constructive engagement.” He further warns of a potential deepening Asean rift over Burma’s looming rotating chairmanship of the grouping..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 3
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddymedia.com/article.php?art_id=4499
Date of entry/update: 28 August 2005


Title: With Friends like You ...
Date of publication: March 2005
Description/subject: - Asean countries start to worry about partner Burma... "As the countdown to Burma assuming the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, in 2006 continues, even some of Rangoon’s neighbors are becoming nervous. Military-controlled Burma as a member of Asean is one thing, but if it becomes chairman the regional grouping stands to suffer even more damage to its image, and possible harm to its trading relations with western countries. Soon after being invited to join Asean in 1997, mainly as part of a move to include all 10 Southeast Asian countries in the grouping, Burma has proved a liability for some of its partners. With its longstanding military regime presiding over a distinctly undemocratic political system and allegedly allowing, if not taking part in, human rights abuses, it was an easy target for criticism from the United States and EU, backed by sanctions. With the regime showing no sign of easing its grip on power, other Asean countries have been thrust into a position of being more apologists for Burma than regional friends. As Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo reportedly told parliament on March 4: “Our hope is that the Asean spirit of consultation and consensus will enable us to find a solution for next year.”..."
Author/creator: Aung Lwin Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 August 2005


Title: A Regional Perspective on Burma
Date of publication: July 2004
Description/subject: "M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra is the chairman of the Asia Dialogue Society, a group of Asian former government officials and scholars that promotes regional cooperation. He has served as a Democrat Party Member of the Thai Parliament since 1996 and was the deputy minister of foreign affairs between 1997 and 2001. In 1999, when gunmen seized the Burmese Embassy in Bangkok, he negotiated the release of their hostages and accompanied the attackers by helicopter to the Thai-Burma border. He talked to The Irrawaddy about Burma’s membership in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the consequences for Asian diplomacy. Question: Burma’s inclusion in Asean continues to mar the grouping’s international image but, aside from the recent fallout with the EU over the Asia-Europe Meeting [ASEM] what damage has really been done?..."
Author/creator: An Interview with M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 October 2004


Title: Quality of Partnership: Myanmar, ASEAN and the World Community
Date of publication: 15 December 2003
Description/subject: "... The primary objective of the report is to offer ideas that can assist the main actors on the political stage of Myanmar - the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) government, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political parties, and the ethnic nationalities - to break the current political deadlock and to find a solution that will be creative, pragmatic, and mutually acceptable and one that will reinforce the sovereignty and integrity of the Union of Myanmar. The report is in 3 parts. The first part explains the nexus between Myanmar, ASEAN/Japan/China/India and the west. The second part clarifies the critical issues that constrain cooperation among the internal forces within Myanmar. The last part presents recommendations for breaking the Myanmar deadlock. In writing the report, the ADS members were mindful of the prevailing realities, including the following: the dominant position of the SPDC government in preserving national sovereignty and developing the country; the pressures from the political parties and the ethnic nationalities for a legitimate participatory role; the increasing pressure on Myanmar from the international community; and the limited opportunity for Myanmar’s friends and neighbors to play a more positive role in bringing about stability to the country and region. The ADS is of the view that the ultimate “solution” to end the deadlock, one which can initiate a genuine process of national reconciliation, must come from the aforementioned 3 stake holding groups and the Myanmar people themselves. The report therefore has outlined some broad principles that can be a useful platform from which dialogue can be initiated between and among the SPDC, the political parties, and the ethnic groups. The report makes several recommendations but the most important concerns the principle that can help break the deadlock The ADS has looked very carefully at the “road map” to democracy announced by the SPDC. To enhance the navigability of this road map to democracy, the ADS has recommended the setting up of a Council for National Reconciliation and Concord (CNRC). This Council should include members from all 3 groups and several eminent persons who can be nominated by a collective decision of the 3 groups (Article 75). The role of this CNRC is to be advisory: for instance, it can advise on the composition and role of the National Convention and other committees and agencies (Article 76-79). The CNRC can be an inclusive process and will give those currently outside the fold of government a genuine opportunity to participate in the process of reconciliation as stakeholders through dialogue and debate. The report has been careful to stress that the details of the modalities, if this framework is considered attractive, are to be worked out among the various groups in a spirit of give and take. The spirit of compromise itself will be enhanced if other self-confidence measures from all sides are also undertaken. The role of the international community is also critical. The report calls upon ASEAN to be more fully engaged with Myanmar in the spirit of “flexible engagement”, that is, as neighbors, they should be more proactively involved in finding a solution to the Myanmar question. The ADS also believes that to prevent instability in an important corner of Asia, it is in the long-term interests of China, Japan and India to fully cooperate, especially with ASEAN and with one another, to promote policies that can contribute to the stability of Myanmar and Southeast Asia, and of Asia as a whole. Finally, in offering this report to the leaders and people of the Union of Myanmar, the ADS is guided not by any sense of “activism” but by their collective experience and their belief that Myanmar can and should contribute to the strengthening of ASEAN solidarity and stability." 15 December 2003
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Dialogue Society (ADS)
Format/size: pdf (784K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.asiandialogue.com
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2004


Title: Shaping Civil-Military Relations in Burma: Learning Lessons from ASEAN
Date of publication: 06 August 2002
Description/subject: Workshops in Thailand and Indonesia - Summary Report... "Highlights of Workshop Results: The workshops built critical capacity and linkages for TBF and TAN to work with key opinion makers and think tanks within the ASEAN region and to provide informed policy inputs that can shape ASEAN strategies in dealing with current political situations as well as future transitions in Burma. The following list of achievements at the workshop: A. Learning Lessons from Country Experiences in Civil-Military Relations: The workshops produced a number of practical ideas and interesting thoughts for the development of effective policies toward securing democratic control of the armed forces in Burma. The workshops have identified opportunities and challenges facing each country, many of which are relevant to the Burmese context... B. Promoting Awareness and Mutual Understanding of Burma and her Neighbors: The workshops have increased the understanding of transitional issues facing Burma, and greater knowledge sharing and cooperation between Burmese experts and academics with those from the neighboring countries. They have facilitated a productive interaction between Burmese and ASEAN experts in learning lessons of transition from one another, and applying them in their related work... C. Laying foundations for regional security dialogue: TBF aims to foster more initiatives on regional security dialogue that can help academics and security experts in collaborating between their respective national projects on a regional basis. These new partnerships will certainly create and enhance long-lasting and productive relationships between a future democratic Burma and its neighbors..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Burma Fund, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS Indonesia), International IDEA
Format/size: pdf (648K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmaguide.net/res-en/BIG19_15_en/view
Date of entry/update: 18 October 2010


Title: Stop Interfering, Mahathir
Date of publication: August 2002
Description/subject: "Ending his one-day visit to Burma accompanied by a 300-member delegation of Malaysian officials and businessmen, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad concluded that the process of change in Burma must be gradual. The visit paid by the staunchest backer of Burma�s pariah regime could be seen as a promotional trip for oil, gas, telecommunications and other Malaysian business interests. Of course, Dr Mahathir did not visit Aung San Suu Kyi..."
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 10, No. 6, July-August 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma: Asean’s Perennial Problem Child
Date of publication: May 2002
Description/subject: "Burma continues to earn its reputation as the black sheep of the Asean family. Thanks to a three-week anti-Thai tirade, Burma has confirmed its reputation as the problem child of the Southeast Asian family, Asean. After hosting a series of anti-Thai demonstrations around the country, Rangoon even stepped into the sports arena to express displeasure at its neighbor, preventing Burmese youth from participating in an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) amateur swimming competition recently held in Bangkok. This episode comes in the wake of other anti-Thai sentiments being openly expressed after border skirmishes began in late May. Burma has expelled Thai workers, denied visas for Thai officials, and even ordered the Burmese media to tarnish both Thailand�s present and past..."
Author/creator: Marwaan Macan-Markar
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 10, No. 4, May 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Challenges to democratization in Burma: Perspectives on multilateral and bilateral responses. Chapter 1 - ASEAN-Burma relations
Date of publication: 14 December 2001
Description/subject: I Historical context; II Origins of constructive engagement; III Burma and ASEAN: A troubled marriage; IV ASEAN and Aung San Suu Kyi; V ASEAN and the NCGUB; VI Bilateral relations; VII Assessment of constructive engagement; VIII Opportunities and challenges for opening political space in ASEAN and Burma; IX Conclusions. "... This paper will attempt to assess ASEAN–Burmese relations and the prospects for ASEAN to take a more active critical role in Burma’s politics by asking the following questions: What is constructive engagement? What have been the driving objectives behind it? What are the prospects of ASEAN altering its modus operandi of non-interference? What indicators might signal a change in ASEAN’s approach to Burma? To begin to answer these questions, we must first have some understanding of ASEAN’s approach to Burma in the context of its evolution as an organization..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw
Language: English
Source/publisher: International IDEA
Format/size: pdf (244K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.idea.int/asia_pacific/burma/upload/challenges_to_democratization_in_burma.pdf
Date of entry/update: 27 September 2010


Title: Dr. Mahathir's House Call
Date of publication: May 2001
Description/subject: The Association of Southeast Asian Nation's Asean self-appointed political physician has a new prescription for what ails Burma: a dose of Cambodia.
Author/creator: John S. Moncrief
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: ASEAN's Hostage Shame
Date of publication: July 2000
Description/subject: "...few hostage-taking incidents can match the present situation in Burma in terms of the sheer number of people involved and the long-term damage it is likely to inflict on virtually every aspect of their lives..." The sight of gunmen jeopardizing the lives of innocent hostages is shocking to people everywhere, regardless of their social, political or religious sympathies. Recent incidents such as the ones in Fiji and Mindanao in the Philippines also have deeper implications, as they show how the selfish actions of a handful of men can threaten not only the lives of a few people, but also the futures of entire communities and nations.
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: ႊThe Irrawaddy: Vol 8 No.7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: ASEAN's Chance for Renewal
Date of publication: October 1999
Description/subject: "...While the egos of Asean members were bruised by the Asian economic crisis and the diplomatic assault by the West for their embracement of Burma, Asean leaders took consolation in that fact that the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) remained arguably the preeminent regional security organization in the world. But rather than risk antagonizing Indonesia and violating Asean’s principle of non-interference, the organization balked at any involvement in alleviating the East Timorese situation and participation in a UN-mandated intervention. This has turned Asean’s successful record in security maintenance into another victim of non-interference. However, new leadership in Indonesia promises to bring changes to Asean..."
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Myanmar Has Damaged ASEAN
Date of publication: December 1998
Description/subject: Myanmar has provided a valuable lesson, that you can't really change a country. Even though ASEAN tries to constructively engage Myanmar, the change has been too slow...
Language: English
Source/publisher: " "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Asean needs "flexible engagement"
Date of publication: August 1998
Description/subject: "In a concerted effort to overcome opposition from Asean member countries, the Foreign Ministry has redefined the concept of “flexible engagement” which will be officially presented as a non-paper when the Asean foreign ministers meet in Manila. Several Asean members have expressed reservations after Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan urged in his proposal last month that they should be more open with each other and have frank discussions on domestic issues which have implications on other members and the group’s destiny. In effect, he called for a review of the Asean way of doing things. Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Burma believe that member countries should not tamper with the principle of non-interference. In other words, they view the Thai initiative as a non-starter. The Philippines, which is host to the meeting, is the only country which has given strong endorsement to Surin’s proposal, and said it will be one of the major subjects on the agenda to be discussed. The other Asean countries are lying low adopting a wait-and-see attitude..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 6, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 September 2009


Title: Asean sees no evil in Burma
Date of publication: August 1998
Description/subject: "In June, Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan proposed the “flexible engagement” policy saying that Asean members need to discuss existing problems more openly and frankly. Although the proposal did not receive a warm welcome at the Asean Summit in Manila, Burma’s democrats, including ordinary Burmese who listened to foreign broadcasts, quietly showed a keen interest and welcomed it. The reason: few Burmese except the ruling junta known as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) support Asean’s controversial and unpopular “constructive engagement” policy. Burma joined the regional club last year despite strong noisy protests in the West, and from human rights activists in the region and the opposition inside and outside of the country. Since the brutal crackdown in 1988 and on-going human rights violations and repression in Burma, the military government had been shunned by democratic governments. The only club the sullen generals could join was Asean. To boost its image and to borrow legitimacy, the junta leaders realised Asean was the best choice..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Cook's Order
Date of publication: September 1997
Description/subject: Members of the Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN, knew there would be a price to be paid for admitting Burma in July to full membership of their well-regarded club. But they may not have guessed that they would have been faced with it so soon.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: SLORC Needs to Repay ASEAN
Date of publication: September 1997
Description/subject: Since Burma was admitted into ASEAN in July, there has been a growing sense of exasperation within the grouping on what to do with the country. Previous attempts by ASEAN to discreetly pressure Slorc to adopt a more flexible approach have failed, including the call for dialogue with the NLD ...
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: ASEAN: Facing a New Dilemma
Date of publication: August 1997
Description/subject: "...Asean also worries of itself developing into a "two-tier" club pitting wealthier nations against its newest members. Such worries are well-founded (see pg.16). Vietnam, Laos and Burma have a combined average per capita GDP of US$1,244, nearly ten times lower than the other six members. While Singapore vaults towards becoming an industrialised country, newcomers Burma and Laos remain fixtures on the list of least developed nations. Burma’s entry and Thailand’s economic malaise spreading virulently throughout the region have recently tarnished Asean’s image. Members have been chivalrous supporting each other during this financial crunch, although it’s doubtful that Asean will be as eager to rescue the Burmese kyat which is plummeting quickly..."
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: Engish
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 4-5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma Tests Asian Values
Date of publication: August 1997
Description/subject: If Asian values are about encouraging a harmonious relationship between the state and society, then ASEAN leaders have their work cut out in Burma. Now that Burma is a member of ASEAN, it would not be illogical to assume that ASEAN will now take some responsibility for the well-being of that unfortunate country - which is now an economic, political and social "basket case" in the regional forum.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 4-5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Enlist Asean's Help With Burma
Date of publication: June 1997
Description/subject: "...Washington should continue to seek support from Burma’s neighbours against Slorc even if it can’t count o­n them to "urge Slorc to enter into a productive dialogue with democratic forces in Burma," as Deputy State Department spokesman John Dinger asked o­n June 2. The democracy rationale was never the most useful with Asean. After all, the majority of Asean’s members are authoritarian states, unlikely to pressure Slorc decisively o­n issues of democracy and human rights. In fact, it is in the interests of most if not all Asean countries to have a member with an abysmal human rights record about which they can say, "Hey, we’re not that bad." However, individual Asean members like Indonesia and Malaysia have o­n occasion played constructive roles in discrete areas, like supporting a UN presence in Burma to protect Muslims in the western state of Arakan. Thailand and the Philippines, who resisted the decision to admit Burma, should be enlisted to continue similar efforts and advance democratic principles within Asean..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Shameful for ASEAN to Embrace Burma
Date of publication: May 1997
Description/subject: ASEAN will never be the same again. By embracing Burma as a member it has itself become a pariah organisation.
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: ASEAN Sees No Evils in Burma
Date of publication: January 1997
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 1
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Foreign Relations
Date of publication: January 1997
Description/subject: The Suharto Inc., in Burma • Surrender of Khun Sa has lasting impact
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: SLORC's Big Brother in Asean
Date of publication: January 1997
Description/subject: The mouthpiece of the regime, the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, once dubbed the relationship between Indonesia and Burma as "two nations with a common identity" as it reported the sharp increase in exchange of official visits between the two governments.The visits, which had increased significantly since 1993, marked not only the progress in Burma-Indonesia diplomatic ties but also the growing eagerness of the Burmese junta to copy the political system of its more established neighbour.
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 5. No. 1
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003