News / Asia

    Burma President Affirms Slowly Declining Role for Military

    Burma President Thein Sein addresses press conference at the third BIMSTEC summit, Myanmar International Convention Center, Naypyitaw, March 4, 2014.
    Burma President Thein Sein addresses press conference at the third BIMSTEC summit, Myanmar International Convention Center, Naypyitaw, March 4, 2014.
    VOA News
    Burmese President Thein Sein says his country's military has a vital but slowly decreasing role to play as Burma, also known as Myanmar, transitions to a democracy.

    In a speech marking his third year in office, he told parliament Wednesday that the country is at a critical juncture and still needs the military to play an important part.

    "We have to balance democratic maturity with the development of local peace to decrease the role of [the army] gradually," he said.

    He also urged those who want to amend the 2008 constitution to do so in a lawful manner.

    However, opposition politicians and rights activists have criticized the slow pace of the reform process, such as peace efforts with ethnic rebel groups and enacting constitutional amendments.

    Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is leading the push for constitutional amendments, said Wednesday that disagreements over reforms should be settled through dialogue.

    "Whenever there is disagreement in politics, it does not mean that we are in crisis," she said. "As I do not want any kind of crisis among us, I have been repeatedly requesting a dialogue to talk about it. Of course there are public protests from both sides to express their democratic rights naturally. That's why we do need to hold dialogue with four parties."

    The Nobel Laureate is seeking talks between herself, Thein Sein, Parliament Chairman Thura Shwe Mann and Military Chief of Staff Min Aung Hlaing.

    Political analyst Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein told VOA's Burmese service that one area of necessary reform is making the role of the military more transparent.

    "We need to clarify whether Burmese military controlled the entire nation or is the military under the guidance of the government, which was elected by the people."

    Burma has been widely praised for making progress since Thein Sein, a former general, came to power in 2011 and ended decades of military dictatorship. While many countries have lifted sanctions against Burma, the United States and others continue to pressure the government to increase the pace of reforms.

    This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: San from: Australia, sudney
    March 26, 2014 8:04 PM
    Burmese Government is going right direction. Happy to hear like that. Keep your pressure on to government, all opposition groups, to get better democracy in Burma. Burma politic is going well.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora