Shwe Mann Assures Yingluck Burma Has Inclusive Democracy

By Saw Yan Naing 25 September 2013

RANGOON — Shwe Mann, speaker of the Lower House of Burma’s Parliament, assured Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that Burma was now practicing a democratic system, and that ties between the two countries remain strong, state media reported.

The Thai premier told the Union Development and Solidarity Party (USDP) chairman that Thailand recognized the progress Burma has made in recent years. Burma’s military regime ceded power to a quasi-civilian government in 2011, ushering a series of reforms opening up the country economically and politically.

The two met at Government House in Bangkok on Monday, where they also discussed bilateral cooperation to achieve a multi-million dollar Dawei deep-sea port project in southern Burma, Burma’s state-run radio announced Tuesday. A report in the English-language Bangkok Post said the two agreed to accelerate progress on the Thai-and-Japanese-backed project.

State radio said Shwe Mann emphasized to Thai government officials that the President Thein Sein-led government is attempting reforms, and that representatives from all different ethnic and opposition parties, as well as the military, are included in Burma’s Parliament.

The two also agreed to maintain good relations and to cooperate to boost the border trade, it said.

State radio also said that Shwe Mann thanked Thailand for hosting more than 3 million Burmese migrant workers, and said he wanted the Thai government to keep helping Burmese workers in the future, adding that Burma’s government and Parliament were willing to cooperate with Thailand on migration issues.

Shwe Mann is on a five-day trip to Thailand that ends Thursday. He was officially invited by Somsak Kiatsuranont, president of Thailand’s National Assembly and speaker of House of Representatives, with whom he met to discuss parliamentary matters.

According to state-run radio, Kiatsuranont told Shwe Mann that Burma and Thailand were a geographically important part of Southeast Asia becoming a more important economic market to the world.