News / Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi Says Burma Reforms Not Yet Irreversible

VOA Interview with Aung San Suu Kyi i
|| 0:00:00
X
September 18, 2012 9:09 PM
Aung San Suu Kyi's interview with VOA's State Department correspondent Scott Sterns. The interview was held at VOA Headquarters in Washington on Sept. 18, 2012
The pace of political change in Burma over the past two years is startling: from the end of Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest, to her election to parliament, to the lifting of most sanctions, to this week's release of political prisoners.

But the pro-democracy leader says Burma's transformation is not irreversible until the army commits itself totally to change.

“Under the present constitution, the army can always take over all parts of government if they think this is necessary. So until the army comes out clearly and consistently in support of the democratic process, we cannot say that it's irreversible. But I don't think we need fear a reversal too much either,” she said.

The military ruled Burma for decades, and worked to suppress all opposition. Because of that, the United States and many other countries imposed economic sanctions on the government.

Elections in 2010 brought in new political leaders, who, although they are civilians, have close ties to the army. Still, the new government has gradually made political and economic reforms, prompting Washington to ease the sanctions.

In an interview at VOA's Washington headquarters Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi said she supports the lifting of U.S. trade sanctions on Burma because it is time, she said, for the Burmese people to stand on their own.

"There have been many claims that sanctions have hurt Burma economically, but I did not agree with that point of view. If you look at reports by the IMF [International Monetary Fund], for example, they make quite clear that the economic impact on Burma has not been that great. But I think the political impact has been very great, and that has helped us in our struggle for democracy," she said.

Related report from Carolyn Presutti:

Aung San Suu Kyi Talks Burma Reforms With VOAi
|| 0:00:00
X
Carolyn Presutti
September 19, 2012 1:00 PM
Burmese democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi has begun a two-week visit to the United States, including a stop at VOA in Washington for an exclusive interview. VOA's Carolyn Presutti takes us along on her first day in the US in more than 40 years.

As leader of the opposition National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi spent nearly two decades in detention. During those years, she said, she believed she was on the path she chose and was perfectly prepared to keep to that path.

Preview: Aung San Suu Kyi's U.S. Tour

  • Meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Meets with NY, Ind., Calif. Burmese community
  • Accepts Congressional Gold Medal
  • Accepts Asia Society Global Vision Award
  • Addresses National Endowment for Democracy
  • Accepts Atlantic Council's Global Citizen Award
And what would she say to people in other countries under similar situations who look to her for inspiration?

"First of all, I would say don't give up hope. At the same time I would say there is no hope without endeavor. You've got to work. You've got to make an effort. It is not enough to sit and hope. You have to work in order to realize your hopes," she said.

On her first visit to the United States in more than 20 years, Aung San Suu Kyi is to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. She was the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

  • Burmese citizens residing in South Korea greet Aung San Suu Kyi upon her arrival at a hotel in central Seoul, January 28, 2013.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the media as he embraces Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi after they spoke to the media at her residence in Rangoon, November 19, 2012.
  • Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, center, waters a sapling after planting it in Govindapuram village, north of Bangalore, India, November 17, 2012.
  • Burmese opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi pays floral tribute on the birth anniversary of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, at his memorial in New Delhi, India, November 14, 2012.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, September 19, 2012.
  • Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi holds her Congressional Gold Medal after it was presented to her by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (2nd L), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 19, 2012.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, meets with Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the State Department, Washington, September 18, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives for the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, June 16, 2012 to thank the Nobel committee for the prize she won in 1991.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses about 4,000 people gathered outside her house in Rangoon, Burma, June 1, 1996.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi is surrounded by security guards and newsmen as she walks out of her lakeside house in Rangoon, Burma, Juy 14, 1995.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowd of supporters in Rangoon, Burma, July 7, 1989.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowd of supporters in Rangoon, Burma, July 7, 1989.
  • Swiss Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, left Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, center, and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Bern, Switzerland, June 14, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi during an election campaign rally in Thongwa village some 50 kms from Rangoon, Burma, February 26, 2012
  • Aung San Suu Kyi is presented with flowers by cheering Karen refugees at Mae La refugee camp in Tha Song Yang district, Tak province, northern Thailand, June 2, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, center, and elected lawmakers of her National League for Democracy party take an oath during a regular session of the Lower House at parliament in Naypyitaw, Burma, May 2, 2012.
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron and Aung San Suu Kyi share a light moment during their meeting in the compound of her lakeside home, April 13, 2012, Rangoon, Burma.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi arrives at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party, April 2, 2012, Rangoon, Burma.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to journalists during the press conference in her residence in Rangoon, Burma, March 30, 2012.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton react after speaking to the press at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, Burma, December 2, 2011.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi and her youngest son Kim Aris pay respect to her father, the late Geneneral Aung San, at the Martyr's Mausoleum in Rangoon, Burma, July 12, 2011.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Zhao from: Ithaca, NY, USA
September 18, 2012 9:50 PM
She is the most graceful and shrewd woman I've ever seen in this world.
Good luck Aung San Suu Kyi!

In Response

by: Voice of Islam
September 19, 2012 9:57 AM
I thought she is good moral about humanity until she commented against Rohingya ethnic group in Burma. Noble peace prize should be taken out from her. She does not deserve that prize. Shame on you. I even hate to pronounce your name anymore. Shame Shame Shame...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid