News / Asia

Thai Prime Minister Meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, right, stands with Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a meeting at the Thai Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, December 20, 2011.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, right, stands with Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a meeting at the Thai Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, December 20, 2011.

Political analysts say Thailand and Burma are looking to rebuild business relations after a two-day visit by Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra.

The visit included moves to expand business and economic ties, but what drew the most attention was a half-hour meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi.  The meeting was the Burmese opposition leader's first with a head of government since her release from house arrest last year.

Aung San Suu Kyi is preparing to stand as a candidate in a by-election in early 2012.  A Thai government spokeswoman said Yingluck had offered Aung San Suu Kyi her support in the by-election.

Earlier, in a meeting with Burma’s President Thein Sein, Yingluck expressed support for Burma’s efforts to reconcile with the country’s ethnic communities.  She also called for an expansion of business ties.

A political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, says the meeting between Yingluck and Aung San Suu Kyi would also boost the Thai Prime Minister’s political credentials in Thailand.  

Thitinan said favorable ties with Burma are vital for Thailand.

“It is the most important country for Thailand in terms of trade, investment, labor and Thai economic and Thai energy dependence on Burma/Myanmar gas and supply in the coming years.  Right now we already have more than 20 percent of our natural gas in Thailand being imported from Myanmar/ Burma,” Thitinan said.

In Thailand, media coverage of the visit was overshadowed by comments from Yingluck’s brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who said he had visited Burma last week “to help smooth the way for his sister.”

Thaksin was known for having a close relationship with Burma’s former military government and remains a deeply divisive figure in Thailand.

Thailand, together with China and Singapore are major investors in Burma.
International sanctions have limited foreign investment in Burma due to the government’s human-rights record.  But further economic and political reforms are expected, which could ease sanctions and lead to more investment.

But the secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma, Tate Naing, warns those benefits may not be equally distributed.

He says further economic reforms may benefit business people closely aligned with the government and lead to land confiscation.

One of the biggest companies working in Burma is the Thai contractor, Italian Thai Development, which is building an estimated $4-billion deep sea port and industrial zone at the Dawei Port in Southern Burma.

Thailand’s oil and gas producer, PTT Exploration and Production, has a third gas field expected to come on line in 2013.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid