News / Asia

    Spotlight Shines on Aung San Suu Kyi at World Economic Forum

    Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, left, shakes hands with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung during their meeting at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, May 31, 2012.
    Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, left, shakes hands with Thai Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung during their meeting at Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, May 31, 2012.
    Daniel Schearf
    BANGKOK - The World Economic Forum on East Asia has opened for the first time in Thailand, with hundreds of business leaders and heads of state from Southeast Asia.  But it is Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who is taking up much of the spotlight. 
     
    More than 600 people are attending the forum and discussing ways to better connect a region that has posted robust economic growth in recent years and hopes to continue the streak.
     
    Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told attendees they are facing challenges and opportunities.

    • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has a cup of tea at the VIP lounge of Rangoon's airport as she waits for her flight to Bangkok, Thailand, May 29, 2012.
    • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi greets migrant workers from Burma as she visits them in Samut Sakhon province, Thailand, May 30, 2012. 
    • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (L) shakes hands with Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before a gala-dinner as part of the World Economic Forum on East Asia at Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, May 31, 2012.
    • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2nd R) sits with delegates during the 'Open Plenary East Asian Models for Transforming the Global Economy' as part of the World Economic Forum on East Asia at a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, May 31,
    • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves to photographers as she leaves a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, May 31, 2012.
    • Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (3rd R) attends the open plenary session 'East Asian Models for Transforming the Global Economy' as part of the World Economic Forum on East Asia, at a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, May 31, 2012.

     “From problems in the eurozone to climate change on the one hand, to advances in technology, progress in democratic process, and emerging centers of growth on the other,” Yingluck said.
     
    The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is scheduled to form an economic community, similar to Europe, by 2015.
     
    Forum founder Klaus Schwab noted the global economic slow-down raises questions about the future.
     
    “But when you look at the ASEAN region you feel that here you have a region which is full of dynamism, which has economic growth of over five percent and which becomes more and more a crucial factor in the world economic and world political context,” he said.
     
    The forum, a regional version of the international meeting in Davos, Switzerland, seeks to address improving regional infrastructure and removing barriers to trade.  

    The Prime Ministers of Bahrain, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and the President of Indonesia are attending.  But much attention this year has been on the participation of Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
     
    The opposition leader is on her first trip outside the country in more than two decades. Fifteen of those years were spent under house arrest while a military government trampled human rights, isolated the country, and destroyed the economy.
     
    Helene Gayle of CARE, a U.S.-based international aid organization, and co-chair of the forum said Aung San Suu Kyi’s participation will help improve the region’s communication with Burma.
     
    “What she is doing by being here, is incredibly significant," noted Gayle. "It begins that opportunity for a dialogue that I think will be very important for Burma, but also for the rest of this region.”
     
    Burma’s President Thein Sein was originally scheduled for the forum and to speak on the future of Burma.  But shortly after Aung San Suu Kyi’s participation was announced, he cancelled.  The president told organizers he had important work to attend to, but his pull-out raised speculation he did not wish to be upstaged.
     
    President Thein Sein is praised for leading Burma’s reform efforts, but he was also part of the military government that ruled the country with an iron fist.
     
    Aung San Suu Kyi attracted thousands of people Wednesday when she visited Burmese migrant workers in a community outside Bangkok.  She met Thursday with a Thai Deputy Prime Minister to discuss labor conditions for migrant workers.
     
    An estimated two-million Burmese travel to Thailand for work but many are undocumented and exploited.
     
    The democracy leader is expected to visit refugees from Burma in camps on the Thai border.  Thailand hosts about 150,000 men, women, and children who fled decades of fighting and abuses by Burma’s military and ethnic rebel groups.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Burmese Daze from: Myanmar
    May 31, 2012 9:14 PM
    If Suu Kyi really wants to help the underpaid Burmese economic migrants in Thailand to return home, then she must first call for the lifting of all economic sanctions.

    It's time to Iisten to the cries of the millions of destitutes, both within and without the country.

    History will look back and curse those who continue to hurt the poor Burmese people.

    Remember, the people fought for *economic freedom*, above all, that sparked the nationwide uprising in 1988. Not politics.

    You cannot hide the sun, nor the moon or the Truth for too long . . .

    by: Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 9:07 AM
    Social condition, labor condition for Burmese refufees,exiles,migrant workers in Thailand should be the issues for Suu-Kyi to work out with Yingluck. This is the very first proof that Suu-Kyi is for Buemese, not for her own glorry.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora