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

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.