Min Aung Hlaing Appointed Vice-Senior General

General Min Aung Hlaing speaking during a meeting with officials at Kalaw, southern Shan State, last April. (PHOTO: Irrawaddy)

Burma’s state-run newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, published two articles on Tuesday that clearly indicate that former general Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, had been promoted to vice-senior general, the second highest rank in the Burmese military hierarchy.

One headline read: “Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing receives Chief of the Air Staff of the Bangladesh Air Force,” while under the lead story, “President U Thein Sein leaves for Cambodia to attend 20th ASEAN Summit,” the report stated that the president’s delegation was seen off at the airport by a list of dignitaries, including “Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.”

Military appointments are rarely announced in Burma, or Myanmar as the country is officially known. Rather, the public traditionally finds out who is who by the titles given in the state media and the prominence that each receives in press clippings.

Min Aung Hlaing, 55, has been recognized as a rising star in the Tatmadaw, or Burmese armed forces, for several years. He rose to prominence in 2009 when he led an offensive against the insurgent Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army in the Kokang area, forcing some 37,000 ethnic Kokang locals to flee to China.

He held the position of Chief of Bureau of Special Operations–2 (Shan and Karenni states) until almost exactly a year ago when he took over as commander-in-chief of the military from former dictator Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

Min Aung Hlaing represented Naypyidaw at negotiations with China in November when he signed a bilateral agreement on defense cooperation, and also held talks with Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping.

It is widely believed that Min Aung Hlaing’s agenda in Beijing included seeking cooperation from China with respect to the Burmese army’s ongoing conflict with Kachin rebels near the Sino-Burmese border.

Insiders say that the army chief ignored a presidential order in December telling Burmese commanders to cease launching attacks on Kachin positions as a part of a prelude to peace talks.

As commander-in-chief of the army, Min Aung Hlaing is a key stakeholder in Burma’s emerging parliamentary democracy—under Burma’s 2008 Constitution, the commander-in-chief has the ability to assume power in times of “national emergency.”

In a speech to mark Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw on March 27, Min Aung Hlaing defended the military’s continued role in national politics.

Since taking over as commander-in-chief from Than Shwe last year, Min Aung Hlaing has been suspected of opposing the democratic reforms put forward by President Thein Sein’s administration.

However, he has rejected the allegations, saying that “while the county is marching towards democracy, the Tatmadaw will support the functions of government.”

Observers are quick to point out that several military generals suspected of corruption have been dismissed or reshuffled since Min Aung Hlaing took over the reins as army chief last March.


15 Responses to Min Aung Hlaing Appointed Vice-Senior General

  1. Ha-ha-ha!

    May be the talk about Thein Sein might have turned could be true. Always hard being double agent.

    Now the Puppeteer have decided. The Whip Master outranks the Mask.

    Storm anticipated.

  2. who appoint Gen Min Aung Hlaing to vice senor general.? Did he appoint himself or by who ?

    • Excellent question! Wonder if any Burmese so-called democrat really understands the question.

      Intellectual poverty of our/Myanmar people so woefully and blindingly bright.

      So full of rhetoric and empty of reason.

  3. Who is a Senior General of Armed Forces?
    Is Than Shwe still Senior General of Armed Forces?

  4. It is so sad that this person is becoming stumbling block toward democracy.

  5. Vice Srn.General Min Aung Hlaing position is very important to stay neutral, because the founder of the Burma Army General Aung San had been given guide line to the army that Tatmadaw should not take part actively in party politics, but can participate in national politics of nationa building.
    Therefore at this time, Tatmadaw should stay neutral, but should support President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi’s nation building policy and for peace proceses so that the country will easily forward to strengthen of democratic Burma also call Myanmar.

    • Not just President TheinSein and so-called opposition leader (there are many oppositions to military brutalities) who achieved fame by machinations of former coloniser, coupled with American interests. The army must be kind to and loving of every Myanmar citizen – and to several civil societies and charities and religious institutions.

      Caution must be exercised in all endeavours.

    • I agree you. Army must stay netural and participate in country builting.Once,Ne win and Than Shwe did bad imaged Army,NOW this is the time to restore.

  6. Seriously, Burma is still under military rule and infect military got more tighter grip than during the time of dictator Ne Win as there are more powerful Generals and ex-Generals than before in the cabinet.

  7. Who appointed this idiot man as vice senior general? We can tell this man looks just like “Oo hta lone neh shwe yoe”.

  8. As I understand it, there is no one but the President (elected) who holds the highest authority and responsibility in the affairs of the State. He acts for and on behalf of the people.
    A Commander-in-Chief is just one of his top officials, not a rival or superior in power.
    In a routine set-up, the following officials must be appointed on his proposal approved by the Hluttaws, or the proposal of the Hluttaws at his approval, but must all be signed by him, properly promulgated and announced in government bulletins and the media: the military C-in-C, the Chief Justice, the Chief Attorney, Chairman of the Central Bank, the Auditor General, and may be more. A C-in-C cannot and must not act contrary to the President’s orders that are not contrary to the wishes of the Hluttaws or the general public, as formerly was the case in 1962-
    the Tatmadaw hadn’t safeguarded the then extant Constitution.

    The Tatmadaw has the duty to safeguard the constitution, which is only organic, ammenable at all times, according to the will of the people, not at the whims and fancies of a C-in-C. Certainly not to safeguard the well-being of the top brass.

    We have hope in both the President and the C-in-C, whatever his title or remuneration may be: he works under the President.
    May we be free of armed conflicts!! May we achieve a durable general Peace, that holds true throughout the country!!!

  9. Who made the move???
    This is one of the proofs that this election & the rest is a very well planned set-up/game plan.
    What a coincidence? Daw Aung San Suu Kyi & NLD won this By-Election, and at the same time General Min Aung Hlaing has been promoted. It’s called ‘Balancing of Power’.
    Do you get the picture? If you still don’t get it yet, I’m sorry.
    Mr. Obama, Ms. Clinton, Mr. McCain, Mr. Mitchell, Ms. DiMaggio and all EU leaders, please wake up & pay attention seriously. This is a very smart & very well planned, went smoothly so far. This Godfather is extremely smart, way smarter than you think. Promoting Chief of Staffs is not an issue. But my point is someone with a big head is behind the scene and you all are well under his game. We’ve learned from our experience, we’ve lived our whole life under military dictatorship, and our country has this type of game since 1962.
    Who is pulling the strings???
    So please figure out…

  10. Is it the priority to give him the promotion at this particular time. These people always think of themselves and crazy with the power. It is not the appropriate time and rank compare to the neighbour. This type of scenario still exists.

  11. George Than Setkyar Heine

    I AGREE with Suu Maung all the way.
    Yes, the APRIL FOOL’S DAY ELECTIONS SCOOP is NOTHING LESS THAN Than Shwe’s if NOT the COMMUNISTS in Beijing of course.
    The US, EU and the WEST have been DUPED into COMPLETE FOOLS as well; SANCTIONS ARE GOING TO BE LIFTED and INVESTMENTS MAKING THEIR WAY into Burma, FATTENING the WALLETS of the CRONIES in turn and MOST DISAPPOINTINGLY/DISASTROUSLY as well PROLONGING the pseudo-civilian rule of the ex-generals and active duty officers at Naypyidaw for certain.
    Min Aung Hlaing’s PROMOTION as well would GREATLY AUGUR HIS HAND (GREASE HIS HAND) for THAT MATTER no less folks!
    The SCENARIO IS SIMPLY A SCRIPTED ONE since day one no doubt.
    Daw Suu and her lot would STAY CORRALLED in Thein Sein’s whorehouse (parliament) while the CRONIES and the lot at Naypyidaw LAUGH ALL THE WAY to the BANKS in the US, EU and the WEST trust me.
    While CRYING OUT LOUD for REFORMS (amendment of Than Shwe’s constitution and others) Daw Suu and her people would be EXHAUSTING/SWEATING THEMSELVES at the wolves’ lair (Naypyidaw). Any bets?

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