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Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN

ASEAN People’s Forum-Jakarta: Keynote Speech by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

May 9, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Asean leaders issue Burma election call

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Asean leaders issue Burma election call

BBC News -‎

South East Asian leaders have urged Burma’s military government to hold free and inclusive elections. In a statement, the leaders of the Asean regional grouping said the move would help the country to stabilise and focus on development.

In a statement, the leaders of the Asean regional grouping said the move would help the country to stabilise and focus on development.

Burma’s military rulers recently enacted election laws ahead of polls expected later this year.

The laws prevent detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other key figures from taking part.

The Asean summit is taking place in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.

Leaders had planned to focus on improving relations between the bloc and regional trading partners.

But the issue of Burma – and the absence of the Thai prime minister due to protests – overshadowed proceedings.

‘Credible’

In a news conference at the end of the summit, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said the elections in Burma should be “fair, democratic, with the participation of all parties”.

“This will help… stabilise the country and focus resources on development,” he said.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Minister Marty Natalegawa echoed his call, saying Burma had to keep its promises.

“The main message that’s coming out from the summit is the importance of the elections that are coming up in 2010,” he said.

“And not any type of elections, but instead an election that is free, that is fair, that is democratic, that is credible.

“These are qualities that Myanmar [Burma] itself has said they want to fulfil. So I think the clarion call… is the importance for Myanmar to live up to the commitments.”

Observers say the comments were unusually strong for Asean, which has been criticised in the past for failing to take a stand on members’ human rights issues.

Burma’s military leaders say they will hold the first elections in two decades some time this year.

But their recently-enacted election laws have been widely criticised.

One law bans those with criminal convictions from taking part – ruling out most key opposition leaders, who have been jailed for their political activism.

Ms Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has already said that it will boycott the polls.

The NLD won the last elections in 1990 but was never allowed to take power.

Asean, or the Association of South East Asian Nations, combines the more developed economies of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei, with Burma, Laos and Cambodia.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8611930.stm

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

April 9, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Posted in World top news

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Obama urges Myanmar to free democracy leader Suu Kyi

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Obama urges Myanmar to free democracy leader Suu Kyi

November 15, 2009 — Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)

Aung San Suu Kyi, the iconic face of democracy in Myanmar, was placed under house arrest in 1989.

Singapore (CNN) — President Obama on Sunday called for the release of Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

“There are clear steps that must be taken: the unconditional release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi; an end to conflicts with minority groups; and a genuine dialogue between the government, the democratic opposition and minority groups,” according to Obama, who said the regime should work to ensure its people’s needs are met.

He spoke during a meeting with ASEAN-10 leaders that included the prime minister of Myanmar. Obama is the first U.S. president to take part in a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic alliance. The formal meeting was held Sunday.

That 10-nation alliance includes Myanmar, which the United States and other nations have accused of human rights abuses.

U.S. officials were careful to avoid any perception that Obama’s presence at the ASEAN meeting would amount to a bilateral discussion with the prime minister of Myanmar.

After years of refusing direct talks with Myanmar, also known as Burma, the United States has indicated a possible re-engagement with the military regime it considers repressive for cracking down on political opposition, including the National League for Democracy.

The league is led by Suu Kyi, a detained Nobel Peace Prize winner.

“The statement we’re trying to make here is that we’re not going to let the Burmese tail wag the ASEAN dog,” said Jeffrey Bader, the National Security Council’s senior director for East Asian affairs. “We’re going to meet with all 10, and we’re not going to punish the other nine simply because Burma is in the room, but this is not a bilateral.”

Obama reiterated his stance in a speech Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.

“Despite years of good intentions, neither sanctions by the United States nor engagement by others succeeded in improving the lives of the Burmese people,” he said.

“So we are now communicating directly with the leadership to make it clear that existing sanctions will remain until there are concrete steps toward democratic reform.”

Suu Kyi, the iconic face of democracy in Myanmar, was placed under house arrest in 1989.

The next year, the National League for Democracy won more than 80 percent of the legislative seats in the first free elections in the country in nearly 30 years.

But Myanmar’s military junta disqualified Suu Kyi from serving because of her house arrest and annulled the election results.

Her supporters say Suu Kyi’s latest arrest — ostensibly over an American visiting her home without government permission — is meant to keep her confined so she cannot participate in the general elections that the junta has scheduled for next year.

She has been under house arrest for 13 of the past 19 years, and is rarely allowed visitors, except for her doctor.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/11/15/obama.suu.kyi/

More news

AFP

Free Suu Kyi, Obama demands Bangkok Post – ‎

Release Suu Kyi, Obama tells Myanmar leader Business Times (subscription) – Chuang Peck –

Obama urges Myanmar ruler to release Suu Kyi Radio New Zealand – ‎

Obama tells Burma to free Suu Kyi CBC.ca –

Obama tells Myanmar PM: release Suu Kyi ABS CBN News – ‎

Free Aung San Suu Kyi, Obama tells Burma PM guardian.co.uk – ‎

Obama’s Asia Tour: Focus on Japan and China Kashmir Watch – Abdul Ruff

Obama appeals for Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom Radio Australia News –

Obama pledges better ties with Myanmar PRESS TV –

Free Aung San Suu Kyi, Obama tells Burma PM guardian.co.uk –

Obama calls for Suu Kyi’s release United Press International –

Obama appeals for Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom Radio Australia News –

Obama pledges better ties with Myanmar PRESS TV – ‎

Barack Obama tells Burma to free Aung San Suu Kyi Telegraph.co.uk –

Obama tells Myanmar to free Suu Kyi Aljazeera.net –

Obama Urges Burma To Free Opposition Leader Sky News

US eases push for Suu Kyi’s release The Age – Vijay Joshi

Obama urges release of Burma democracy champion Suu Kyi ChattahBox –

Release Suu Kyi, Obama tells Burmese PM InTheNews.co.uk – Matthew Champion

Obama Tells Thein Sein Release Suu Kyi The Irrawaddy News Magazine – Simon Roughneen

Obama meets Myanmar PM, calls for Suu Kyi’s release Reuters Canada – Patricia Zengerle, Bill Tarrant

Obama asks Myanmar to release Suu Kyi Republica –

US calls for release of Aung San Suu Kyi Radio Netherlands – ‎

Obama tells Burma to free Suu Kyi Independent – ‎

Obama meets Myanmar PM, calls for Suu Kyi’s release Reuters – Patricia Zengerle, Bill Tarrant

Obama tells Myanmar junta to free Suu Kyi eTaiwan News –

Obama asks Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi Inquirer.net – Christian V. Esguerra

Obama tells Myanmar junta to free Suu Kyi The Associated Press – Vijay Joshi

Release Suu Kyi, Obama tells Burma junta ABC Online –

Obama calls for Suu Kyi’s release at ASEAN summit Moneycontrol.com –

Obama calls for Suu Kyi’s release RTE.ie –

In Meeting with Southeast Asian Nations, President Obama Calls for Myanmar to Free Aung San Suu Kyi ABC News –

Obama calls for release of Aung San Suu Kyi at meeting with Burma premier guardian.co.uk –

Obama meets with Myanmar’s Thein Sein in Singapore Kyrgyzstan News –

Obama tells Myanmar junta to free Suu Kyi Columbus Ledger-Enquirer – Vijay Joshi

Release Suu Kyi, Obama tells Myanmar PM AFP –

Obama urges Burma to free Suu Kyi BBC News –

Obama tells Myanmar PM: Release Suu Kyi Sydney Morning Herald –

Obama Calls For Suu Kyi’s Release At ASEAN Summit New York Times – Nopporn Wong-Anan, Dean Yates


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Obama condemns Burmese junta

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Politico 44

Obama condemns Burmese junta

By POLITICO STAFF | 11/15/09 8:38 AM

President Obama meets with South East Asian leaders in Singapore. AP

Obama condemned the Burma junta and called for the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, at a meeting with other South East Asian leaders in Singapore.

POTUS made no public contact with Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein at the meeting in Singapore’s Shangri-la hotel with the 10 leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations. It was the first ASEAN meeting to include an American president.

The leaders filed into the ballroom in order at just before 4 pm and took to the stage for the traditional cross hands ASEAN handshake.

POTUS stood in the middle of the line, pool reports. To his left was Thai PM. Abhisit Vejjajiva and to his right was Singapore PM Lee Hsieng Loong.

To Lee’s right was Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a lime green suit. Next to Arroyo was Myanmar PM Thein Sein in a business suit was three places away from POTUS, who did not shake hands with him or speak to him.

The 11 leaders then moved to a circular table. POTUS was flanked by Arroyo to his right and Singapore to his left. Myanmar four places away.

Secretary Clinton was sitting behind POTUS next to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

Lee welcomed leaders to “the first ASEAN-US leaders meeting.”

Senior officials offered more detail in a briefing following the meeting. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that POTUS “reiterated exactly what he said yesterday in Tokyo about the release of Aung San Suu Kyi by Burma. So he brought that up directly with that government.”

Ben Rhodes, the NSA adviser for strategic communications, added that “in his intervention,” Obama “used exactly the same language that he used in the speech. So privately he said the exact same thing that he said publicly in enumerating the steps that the government of Burma must take: freeing all political prisoners, freeing Aung San Suu Kyi, ending the violence against minority groups, and moving into a dialogue with democratic movements there.”

Obama made a point of mentioning Suu Kyi — who been imprisoned for 14 of the last 20 years by the military regime — by name is his speech in Tokyo.

A joint statement issued by ASEAN after the meeting included a paragraph on Myanmar urging that the elections it intends to hold in 2010 are “conducted in a free, fair, inclusive and transparent manner.” It did not call for the release of political prisoners.

Rhodes pointed out that since Myanmar is a member of the group,that was as far as the statement could reasonably be expected to go, but said that Obama speaking out so directly at the meeting carried much more weight that a staement could have.

http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/1109/on_burma_24426f78-d646-4c8f-a6b9-855f53d09b84.html

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 15, 2009 at 2:57 pm

World focus on Burma (14-11-2009)

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‘Myanmar’s military junta on wrong side of history’

Press Trust of India – Lalit K Jha – ‎

“I am hoping that we’re able to influence the leadership in Burma to begin an internal dialogue inside their own country, bringing the opposition parties, …

Obama: New Myanmar policy depends on reform

Forbes –

Obama said in a major speech on the Asia Pacific region in Tokyo that Myanmar – also known as Burma – must take steps to “unconditionally release” all …

Obama talks about human rights in Asia, skips Tibet

Deccan Herald – ‎

US President Barack Obama on Saturday ruled out any lifting of sanctions on Myanmar, saying they would remain till the military regime takes concrete steps …

Obama offers Myanmar better ties if it reforms

Reuters – Patricia Zengerle, Caren Bohan

The Obama administration has said it is pursuing deeper engagement with the military government in Myanmar, known in Washington by its former name Burma, …

Sri Lanka protest at Burma visit

BBC News – Charles Haviland – ‎

There has been a demonstration in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, against the visit of the Burmese head of state, General Than Shwe. …

Obama looks to strengthen Asia ties, reaffirms Japan alliance

Xinhua – Li Xianzhi

He also spoke of Myanmar, saying that the United States is now working to secure democratic reforms in that nation. “We support a Burma that is unified, …

Obama leaves Tokyo, headed for summit in Singapore

Jakarta Post – ‎

Obama also had firm words for Myanmar, also known as Burma. He said his new policy of direct communication with the Southeast Asian nation’s ruling junta …

‘Myanmar’s military junta on wrong side of history’

Press Trust of India – Lalit K Jha – ‎

“I am hoping that we’re able to influence the leadership in Burma to begin an internal dialogue inside their own country, bringing the opposition parties, …

Obama hails expanded US engagement in Asia

The Associated Press – Jennifer Loven – ‎

Saturday night, Obama arrives in Singapore, where he is to join a larger meeting that includes the leader of a brutal regime in Myanmar, also known as Burma …

Australia PM Rudd Renews Push For Asia-Pacific Community Plan

Market News International -‎

ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is made up of 10-members: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, Myanmar or Burma, …

Obama in Southeast Asia: Mending Fences in a Key Region

TIME – Hannah Beech – ‎‎

One reason was Burma’s accession to ASEAN in 1997, which put the US in a tough spot. Washington had been tightening sanctions on the Burmese junta because …

Why Obama Will Meet with a Leader of Burma’s Junta

TIME – Hannah Beech

… renamed Myanmar by its ruling generals. For decades the US has shunned contact with the Burmese military regime and in recent years has tightened …

SNAP ANALYSIS-Obama outlines vision for us-Asia ties

Reuters – Patricia Zengerle, Caren Bohan

… specific thorny issues such as Tibet, but he did spell out his new policy of more direct engagement with North Korea and Myanmar, the former Burma. …

US-Burma meet: The ball is now squarely in junta’s court

Shan Herald Agency for News – ‎

Accordingly, high officials from Burma are due to attend the ASEAN-US meeting. The summit is expected to include one of the highest-level meetings between a …

Obama calls for release of Myanmar’s Suu Kyi (Extra)

Monsters and Critics.com –

Using the traditional name of the country, Obama said Burma needed to take ‘clear steps’ toward democracy, including the unconditional release of all …

Obama: New Myanmar policy depends on reform

The Associated Press –

Obama said in a major speech Saturday on the Asia Pacific region in Tokyo that Myanmar — also known as Burma — must take steps to “unconditionally release” …

Obama Carries a Message to Asia

Wall Street Journal – Jonathan Weisman, Yuka Hayashi – ‎

His most lengthy remarks on human rights were reserved for Burma, or Myanmar, whose leaders he will meet in Singapore, the first US president to do so. …

Obama: Prosperous China good for all nations

msnbc.com – ‎

He did, however, criticize Burma for suppressing human rights and North Korea for pursuing nuclear weapons. In a weeklong visit to Asia, Obama also warned …

Burma leader poses Asean hazard

Financial Times – Kevin Brown, Edward Luce – ‎

Since Burma is a member of Asean, Mr Obama will be the first US president to meet Thein Sein, Burma’s prime minister and a member of the ruling junta. …

Asean talks to bring first meeting with Burma leader

Financial Times – Kevin Brown, Edward Luce – ‎

Since Burma is a member of Asean, Mr Obama will become the first US president to meet Thein Sein, prime minister of Burma, a senior member of the ruling …

Obama’s Burma moment

Indian Express – ‎

There is also speculation about what may transpire if Obama comes face to face with Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein — perhaps reversing a 43-year-old …

Monks ‘too scared to protest’ as Burma leader General Than Shwe visits Sri Lanka

Times Online – ‎

Kandy Dancers, drummers and costumed elephants greeted General Than Shwe as the normally reclusive leader of Burma’s junta began a Buddhist pilgrimage in …

Slain Sri Lankan editor, Afghan journalists win the 2009 Louis Lyons award

Nieman Watchdog -‎

Aye Aye Win: An Associated Press correspondent in Myanmar (Burma) since the 1980s, Win was the first female reporter in her country and routinely …

Obama Sets New Myanmar Policy in Motion

RGE Monitor (blog) – Julie Ginsberg

President Obama’s meeting with Southeast Asian leaders—including Myanmar’s prime minister—on Sunday will reflect the new US stance on countries with …

Obama’s Asia trip aimed at luring help on economic and security issues

France24 – Khatya Chhor – ‎‎

For years Washington has avoided dealings with the military regime in Burma (Myanmar) due to its poor human rights record and the continued imprisonment of …

GMA ARRIVED IN SINGAPORE LAST NIGHT FOR APEC MEET, US-ASEAN SUMMIT

Philippine Headline News – ‎‎

We’re going to meet with all 10 and we’re not going to punish the other nine simply because Burma is in the room,” Bader said. In spite of the problems on …

Our picks for the best of the St. Louis International Film Festival

California Chronicle – Joe Williams

… cell phones, instant messaging and video cameras galvanize street protests against the military regime in Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma. …

Suu Kyi renews fight against house arrest extension

PRESS TV –

Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi appeals for the second time against the extension of her house arrest. On Friday, Suu Kyi’s lawyers asked the …

Burma’s Leader Visits Sri Lanka

NTDTV – ‎

The two countries Sri Lanka and Myanmar has grown in terms of a cultural bondage influenced by Bhuddism and that has led to the close ethnicity and …

High Court accepts Suu Kyi’s revision case application

Mizzima.com – ‎

by Phanida Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The High Court today accepted the revision case application filed by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawyers. …

SOUTH-EAST ASIA: Much at Stake for Thai Premier over Cambodia Row

Inter Press Service – Marwaan Macan-Markar

ASEAN—whose members include Brunei, Burma (or Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam— has during …

The moral/ethical tour of Cucalorus

StarNewsOnline.com – Amanda Greene – ‎‎

… and Burma VJ (about the Buddhist monks protests in Myanmar), I’ll connect you with the best of the rest of the moral/ethical films at Cucalorus.

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 14, 2009 at 1:40 am

World focus on Burma (13-11-2009)

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Aung San Suu Kyi turns to Supreme Court to have house arrest sentence overturned

AsiaNews.it – ‎

On 17 November, Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to release a statement setting out the guidelines for a better future in Burma, National League for Democracy …

Suu Kyi appeals house arrest sentence

Toronto Sun – ‎‎

By AP YANGON, Myanmar — Lawyers for detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi filed a new appeal Friday against her 18-month house arrest sentence …

Climate Change and Aung San Suu Kyi

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – Aung Zaw

The regime in Burma is like climate change—if you don’t contain it now, it could be catastrophic. Seeing Burma going nowhere over the past …

Suu Kyi to Seek Meeting with Than Shwe

The Irrawaddy News Magazine – ‎

Her change of mind comes at a time when the US has initiated a new direct engagement policy with Burma and has held several exploratory discussions with …

Dictators and death threats in Sri Lanka

United Press International, Asia – Basil Fernando

Hong Kong, China — This week, Burma’s head of state and military dictator Senior General Than Shwe visited Sri Lanka. …

Arroyo to lead Asean in talks with Obama

Inquirer.net – Christian V. Esguerra – ‎

… “new approach” in its dealings with Asean, which includes Burma (Myanmar), whose human rights record has come under international criticisms. …

Obama in Southeast Asia: Where Form Is Function

Asia Security Initiative News & Blog (blog) – Catharin Dalpino – ‎

Rather, it will consolidate recent Obama policy initiatives in Southeast Asia, most notably the review of Burma policy that resulted in a forty-five degree …

Than Shwe in Sri Lanka on State Visit

The Irrawaddy News Magazine -‎

Than Shwe’s visit follows an invitation made by Rajapaksa who visited Burma, also know as Myanmar, in June this year to mark the 60th anniversary of …

New bid to free Burma’s Suu Kyi

BBC News – ‎

Lawyers for Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi have lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court against her extended house arrest. …

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi appeals to top court

Global Times – ‎

Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s chief lawyer said she launched an appeal to the country’s supreme court against her extended house arrest Friday …

Press Asian Leaders On Human Rights At US-ASEAN Summit’: HRW To Obama

RTT News – ‎

“Burma (Myanmar) is the obvious place to start, but media repression and unpunished rights violations are rampant throughout the region,” she said in a …

Aung San Suu Kyi appeals against her 18-month sentence

Earthtimes (press release) -‎

By : dpa Yangon – Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi filed an appeal Friday with the country’s highest court against her 18-month house arrest …

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi’s lawyers file detention appeal

Reuters – Aung Hla Tun, Alan Raybould – ‎

YANGON (Reuters) – Lawyers for Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Friday they had lodged an appeal against her house arrest …

A view of the Thaksin dispute

Phnom Penh Post – ‎‎

… pretensions of a Greater Thai nation to include all Tai ethnic groupings in French Indochina, Burma and southern China, and even further afield. …

Debate: It Is Time To Lift Sanctions Against Burma

New Statesman – ‎

… Sans Frontières-Holland in Burma for 15 years. Derek Tonkin, Former ambassador to both Vietnam and Thailand, and currently chairman of Network Myanmar.

Myanmar – Suu Kyi appeals

Radio France Internationale – Aung Hla Tun – ‎‎

Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi submitted an appeal to the supreme court to lift the 18-month extension of her house arrest, ahead of a meeting …

Obama arrives in Japan at start of Asia trip

CNN International – ‎

After years of refusing direct talks with Myanmar, also known as Burma, the United States has indicated a possible re-engagement with the military regime it …

Online chatters ask why Clinton forum missed VFA

ABS CBN News – Leilani Chavez – ‎

Similarly, Clinton said the US hopes the Philippines could help influence the leadership in Burma where “leadership is on the wrong side of history. …

Clinton Says Burmese Elections Not Legitimate Without National Dialogue

Voice of America – David Gollust

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday elections planned in Burma next year will not be seen as legitimate unless the military

Suu Kyi appeals to top court against house arrest

AFP –

YANGON — Pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi appealed to Myanmar’s top court Friday against her extended house arrest, days ahead of a likely meeting

Suu Kyi’s release may not come soon

United Press International – ‎‎

Myanmar, formerly called Burma, is a member of the ASEAN. Clinton urged Myanmar military leaders to engage in a dialogue at home to bring together all …

Aung San Suu Kyi appeals detention

Aljazeera.net – ‎

Aung San Suu Kyi, the pro-democracy leader in Myanmar, has lodged an appeal with the military-ruled country’s highest court against her extended house …

US increasing attention to Asia

Asian Tribune – ‎

For example, the fifty years of conflicts in the military-ruled Burma and insurgency problems in Afghanistan have its ramifications across the globe. …

Clinton sees no quick change in Myanmar

ABS CBN News –

“There is no doubt in my mind that the leadership in Burma is on the wrong side of history. It is just a question of how long they stay there,” Clinton said …

Muslim social service group offers a warm mosaic

Waterloo Record – Liz Monteiro

Begum, a native of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, lived in a refugee camp in Bangladesh for 17 years before coming to Canada two years ago. …

Human rights should top Obama-ASEAN summit: HRW

MSN Philippines News – ‎

“Burma (Myanmar) is the obvious place to start, but media repression and unpunished rights violations are rampant throughout the region,” she said in a …

Obama Heads for Japan Seeking to Reassert US Role in Asia

Bloomberg – Edwin Chen, Julianna Goldman – ‎

… as Burma, which is under US sanctions. The administration has called on Myanmar’s government to take steps to show a genuine commitment to democracy. …

Burma junta leader ‘thrilled’ to be in Sri Lanka

Bangkok Post -‎

Burma’s junta leader General Than Shwe said he was “thrilled” to be in Sri Lanka, where he was given a 21-gun salute and an elaborate red-carpet welcome at …

Burmese leader in Sri Lanka

Australia Network News – Mahinda Rajapakse

Burma’s military leader, Than Shwe, is on a four-day trip to Sri Lanka, the first such visit by a Burmese head of state in more than 40 years. …

Australia considering extra aid for Burma

Radio Australia –

We have a longstanding view about a return to democracy, release of Aung San Suu Kyi, release of political prisoners and we have been sceptical about the …

US/ASEAN: Obama Should Press Asian Leaders on Rights

Reuters AlertNet – ‎‎

“Burma is the obvious place to start, but media repression and unpunished rights violations are rampant throughout the region.” The Obama administration has …

Obama To ‘Revive’ US Prestige in Asia

St.Petersburg Times.ru – Stephen Collinson

… attend the weekend’s APEC summit in Singapore and become the first US president to sit down with all 10 leaders of ASEAN, including Myanmar (Burma). …

MANGALA BLASTS GOVT. FOR INVITING RUTHLESS MILITARY LEADER SHWE

Daily Mirror – Kelum Bandara – ‎

SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samaraweera yesterday criticized the government for arranging a visit by Myanmar junta leader Than Shwe and …

Clinton vows $5M in storm relief funds

Inquirer.net – Dj Yap

On Burma (Myanmar), Clinton reiterated that Washington was “not lifting sanctions on Burma.” She called on the Burmese government to release Aung San Suu …


Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 13, 2009 at 4:59 am

Obama departs on eight-day Asia trip

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Obama departs on eight-day Asia trip

// -1) {document.write(‘November 12, 2009 — Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)’);} else {document.write(‘November 12, 2009 1:59 p.m. EST’);}
// ]]>November 12, 2009 — Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)

(CNN) — President Obama embarked Thursday on his first presidential visit to Asia, an eight-day journey that will take him to five cities in four countries.

Throughout the trip to Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea, Obama will emphasize the importance of Asian nations as vital U.S. partners on major issues such as economic growth, nuclear nonproliferation, the war in Afghanistan and climate change, three officials said in a briefing this week.

The presidential itinerary includes formal talks with Asian leaders as a group and individually, a bilateral meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and the first participation by a U.S. president in a summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations economic alliance.

The itinerary also reflects Obama’s personal ties to Asia, where he spent part of his childhood. He will have a bilateral meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, where Obama lived from 1967 to 1971.

As the first U.S. president with “an Asia-Pacific orientation,” Obama “understands that the future of our prosperity and our security is very much tied to this part of the world,” said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

It won’t be all diplomatic meetings, though. Obama’s first trip to China will include a “town hall” style meeting in Shanghai and sightseeing in Beijing. While in Japan he’ll meet the emperor and empress, according to Rhodes.

Obama’s departure was delayed one day to allow his attendance at Tuesday’s memorial service at Fort Hood Army Post in Texas for the 13 people killed in a mass shooting there last week. The revised itinerary cut a day from the stop in Singapore, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said earlier this week.

En route to Tokyo, Obama will take time in Anchorage, Alaska, to speak to troops at Elmendorf Air Force Base during a two-hour layover.

The president will meet with new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Medvedev and Yudhoyono, and also will take part in an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

APEC consists of 21 Pacific Rim nations that make up more than 50 percent of the world’s economic output. The forum sees its goal as “facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Hatoyama and Obama have said they will affirm a strengthening of the bilateral alliance. But the U.S. president will be greeted by a Japanese leadership that has pledged more independence from the United States and has said it is reviewing a bilateral deal to relocate a U.S. Marine Corps base on Okinawa. The agreement was met with fierce local opposition.

Increasing U.S. exports to a region expected to grow by more than 7 percent next year will also be an important topic, said Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs.

Asia “already takes about a quarter of our exports, and those exports are expected to increase as the region grows” Froman said. The result could be an increase of “hundreds of thousands” in the current 1.6 million U.S. jobs linked to Asian exports, he said.

The officials were careful to avoid any perception that Obama’s presence at the ASEAN meeting would amount to a bilateral discussion with the prime minister of Myanmar, who also will attend.

After years of refusing direct talks with Myanmar, also known as Burma, the United States has indicated a possible re-engagement with the military regime it considers repressive for cracking down on political opposition, including the National League for Democracy led by detained Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

“The statement we’re trying to make here is that we’re not going to let the Burmese tail wag the ASEAN dog,” said Jeffrey Bader, the National Security Council’s senior director for East Asian affairs. “We’re going to meet with all 10 and we’re not going to punish the other nine simply because Burma is in the room, but this is not a bilateral [meeting].”

In China, Obama will continue efforts to define and strengthen the relationship with the world’s largest emerging economy, which has a growing influence in Asia, Bader said.

“We see it as a relationship where we’re obviously going to have differences, where we are going to be competitors in certain respects,” he said. “But we want to maximize areas where we can work together because the global challenges will simply not be met if we don’t.”

Bader cited North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the economy, climate change, human rights and Afghanistan as among the top issues for the China swing. On human rights, Bader said Obama is likely to address “freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of religion, rule of law, and certainly Tibet.”

Obama will make clear to Hu that he intends to meet in the future with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, Bader said. China, which rejects Tibetan aspirations for autonomy, opposes such high-level contacts with the Dalai Lama.

On North Korea, the State Department announced Tuesday that U.S. officials will travel to the country by the end of the year to seek a resumption of broader talks on ending the Pyongyang government’s nuclear program.

The Obama administration has claimed initial progress in its strategy of forging an international effort including China, South Korea and other countries to put pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.

Japan has been asking for a comprehensive solution to North Korea’s missile tests and the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s.

North Korea and South Korea reported an encounter Tuesday involving gunfire between two of their naval ships off the Korean Peninsula. No casualties were reported, and a State Department spokesman downplayed the significance of the incident.

CNN’s Tom Cohen, Kyung Lah and Ed Payne contributed to this report.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/11/12/obama.asia/

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

November 13, 2009 at 3:08 am