What will be the role of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in an National League for Democracy-led government, and will it matter? Sitting in Washington DC, on the opposite side of the earth from Myanmar, I cannot come close to answering the first question. But, based on a study I carried out at the beginning of 2015, I believe the SOE sector has the potential to become a major engine for economic progress. The same sector, however, could also become one of the biggest obstacles.
Since late 2013, China has been engaged in the frenzied creation of artificial islands and the militarisation of the South China Sea. This amounts to an alarming quest for control over a strategically crucial corridor through which US$5.3 trillion in trade flows each year. But what is even more shocking – not to mention dangerous – is that China has incurred no international costs for its behaviour.
U Myint Tun was alone in his field in Sagaing Region when four officers pulled up in a military jeep with the bad news: His land now belonged to the government and he could no longer farm it.
In her 2011 Reith lecture, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi spoke of the 1988 uprisings as the second struggle for independence, the first being that against colonial rule. “We were engaged in combat with antagonists who were of the same nation, the same race, the same colour, the same religion,” she said.
An article in the Women In The World section of the New York Times website this week makes a disturbing observation.
China expects a new page to emerge in Myanmar’s domestic politics and foreign policy following the landslide election victory of the National League for Democracy. At the same time the party’s yet-to-be-clarified strategy has fuelled considerable uncertainty about whether – and if so, how – China should once again adjust its policy toward Myanmar.