DASSK Grateful for Japanese Support During Myanmar’s “Difficult Times”

By Htet Naing Zaw 1 August 2019

“I believe Japanese people who have passed through similar difficult times will have compassion and understanding for the Myanmar people,” said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also the foreign affairs minister.

She said she believes and understands Japan’s willingness to help Myanmar solve its issues in Rakhine State, which have attracted global attention.

“The goal of our government is to ensure the safety, stability, progress and development of all citizens,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said.

She expressed her deep appreciation for the assistance being provided by friends in Japan to help her in her efforts to improve the country’s social, economic and political arenas.

As a historic partner, Japan will assist Myanmar as it encounters tough challenges, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said. It is his third time visiting Myanmar.

“Needless to say, peace and stability are essential for building a democratic state,” the Japanese minister said, reaffirming Japan’s continued support for the State Counsellor and the Myanmar government.

Kono said the two sides held fruitful discussions that included an exchange of views on the situation in Rakhine State.

He said he valued efforts made by the Myanmar government to bring back displaced persons  now living in Bangladesh but urged it to make a more strenuous attempt to resettle them back in their homes.

Before visiting Myanmar, Kono had travelled to Bangladesh to visit Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Political analyst U Maung Maung Soe said the failed repatriation talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh, Rohingya demands for recognition as a native ethnic group of Myanmar, US intervention and plans from Voice of America to launch a Rohingya radio program are all signs that international pressure is mounting.

“On the ground, repatriation is still impossible with ongoing clashes in Rakhine. It is fair to say that there is tremendous pressure over the Rakhine issue,” he said.

The Myanmar military’s counterinsurgency response to Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacks on border police outposts in northern Rakhine State in 2017 caused more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee into Bangladesh, according to the UN, though the Myanmar government denies these figures.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a repatriation agreement in November 2017 but the process has stalled, with both sides blaming each other for delays.

International pressures over human rights violations are nothing new for Myanmar. However, the  Rakhine situation has been particularly stark in part because of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s pre-government position as a Nobel-laureated champion of human rights.

In July, the US imposed sanctions on Myanmar military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, his deputy Vice Senior General Soe Win and two other senior commanders it said were responsible for the extrajudicial killings of Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, barring them from entering the United States.

Analysts suggest that US and other Western sanctions against Myanmar military leaders will further worsen ties between the military and the Suu Kyi-led civilian government.