A virtual dialogue between Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) and MISIS was held on 14th October 2020. ISSI is a renowned think tank in Pakistan. Several years before MISIS interacted with ISSI under the framework of an MoU signed between the two Institutes. The MoU eventually expired. Meantime changes took place in the leadership and members of the two organizations and since then the MoU was not renewed and both sides lost contact with each other. However, in September ISSI took the initiative of reviving the contact with MISIS. Both sides agreed to convey a virtual meeting on issues of interest especially those affecting the security of South Asia. To this end, the following two topics were chosen for discussion- 1. Indo-Pacific: View from National Perspective of Myanmar and Pakistan respectively 2. China-Myanmar Economic Corridor and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Opening remarks were delivered by Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General of ISSI and U Nyunt Maung Shein, Chairman of MISIS. Following persons were present at the meeting- From Pakistan side- Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, DG Dr. Saif Malik, Director, India Studies Center Dr. Farhan Hanif Siddiqi, IR Department, Quaid-i-Azam University Dr. Shabana Fayaz, Chair of Defense and Strategic Studies Department, Quaid-i-Azam University From Myanmar side- U Nyunt Maung Shein, Chairman U Wynn Lwin, Vice-Chairman U Kyee Myint, Member Pro. Dr. Daw Khin Ma Ma Myo, Member Both sides appreciated the view points and position presented by the speakers. They decided to renew the MoU and expressed the hope that when the pandemic situation is stabilized a physical meeting could be held either in Islamabad or Yangon. Presentaions made by U Kyee Myint on CMEC and on Indo-Pacific by Pro. Dr. Daw Khin Ma Ma Myo could be downloaded from MISIS website.
GCMS (Global Centre for Mekong Studies) Coordinators’ Virtual Meeting was held on 9 September 2020. It was attended by representatives from the six GCMS Centers from China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Welcome remarks were made by Permanent Co-Chair China and Outgoing Co-Chair Laos and Incoming Co-Chair Myanmar. From 2020 onwards China and Myanmar will Co-Chair the activities of GCMS for two years. In the first meeting the representatives discussed and exchanged views on the topic “The New International Land-Sea Trade Corridors and the Role of MLC”. This topic is in line with the decision of the Fifth LMC Ministerial Meeting’s decision which instructed the GCMS to submit a detailed report. Each Center is required to present a research paper on the topic and submit to the Co-Chairs by the end of November.
The 6th Roundtable of the ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks (AINTT) on the topic “ASEAN-India: Strengthening Partnership in the Post-Covid Era” was held on 20 August 2020 in virtual format. It is organized by Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS, New Delhi) and ASEAN Studies Center (ASC), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Opening remarks were delivered by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, H.E. Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India and H.E. Dato’ Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary General of ASEAN. Scholars and Researchers from India, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar attended the roundtable. MISIS is represented by Professor Daw Carole Ann Chit Tha who spoke in Session I under the topic “Changing landscape of global order and ASEAN-India relations in the Post-Covid Era”. Another participant from Myanmar is Dr. Zaw Oo, Executive Director, Center for Economic and Social Development, Yangon who spoke on Session V “Way Forward”.
On the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s State visit to Myanmar, a Dialogue between Chinese and Myanmar Think Tanks held an exchange of views under the title “Contemporary China and the World” at Wyndham Hotel in Yangon on 14 January 2020. The event was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, China International Publishing Group, China Institute of International Studies and Chinese Embassy in Yangon. The co-organizers are Myanmar ISIS, CSIS(Myanmar) and Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies. Opening remarks were delivered by U Nyunt Maung Shein, Chairman of Myanmar ISIS and Mr. Du Zhanyuan, President of China Publishing Group. Discussions were held under four sessions namely-Enhancing Political Mutual Trust and Deepening Strategic Cooperation, Sharing Experience in Poverty Reduction for Common Prosperity and Development, Promoting Belt and Road Cooperation for Mutual Benefit and Deepening People-to-people Exchanges to Carry Forward Traditional Friendship. Closing statements were made by the Counsellor of Chinese Embassy in Yangon, U Aung Myo Myint, DG of Strategic Studies and Training Department, MOFA, H.E. U Kyaw Tin, Union Minister of International Cooperation and H.E. Mr. Xu Lin, Minister of Information of the State Council of China.
Ambassador of Viet Nam to Myanmar H.E. Dr. Luan Thuy Duong gave a talk on Vietnam’s Vision on the three pillars of Community of ASEAN when it Chairs ASEAN in 2020 gave a talk this morning. She discussed in details about Myanmar-Viet Nam Comprehensive Partnership Relations and raised questions about what Myanmar expects to do during its Chairmanship of ASEAN and also member of the non-permanent seat of the UNSC. She recounted that Viet Nam fully supported Myanmar in the UNGA against the resolution which came up on the Rakhine issue. She said that she had to feed information to Viet Nam Permanent Representative in New York because Myanmar media is very weak in sending out correct information to the international community. She requested that full information to be shared with friendly countries like Viet Nam so that they could make strong argument for Myanmar in the international fora. MISIS members, Professors and Lecturers and students from IR Department of the Universities from Yangon attended the talk. The Ambassador will shortly leave her post after completing assignment in Yangon.
Dr. Sen Gupta, Director of Vivekananda International Foundation(VIF), New Delhi and delegation visited MISIS for bilateral meeting this morning. From Myanmar side, Member U Ba Hla Aye presented the Rakhine issue and Member U Than Tun on bilateral relations. A round of discussions took place. The Indian delegation thanked MISIS for the informative briefing on Rakhine State so that misunderstanding and misperceptions are all cleared away. The delegation will visit NPT tomorrow and meet with Senior Officials from MOFA. Earlier, MISIS already had interaction with VIF notably the holding SAMVAD II together with Sitagu Sayadaw in 2016 and trilateral meeting between Myanmar, Bangladesh and India at New Delhi in 2018 also by VIF and also very recently BIMSTEC 1.5 Security Dialogue hosted by New Delhi.
H.E. Mr. Chang Jae-bok, Ambassador for Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, South Korea and delegation paid a visit to MISIS on 5 November 2019. The Korean delegation shared insights and experiences on Public Diplomacy and Soft Power. Public Diplomacy is a diplomatic tool which is used to influence public abroad in projecting the foreign policy and image of a nation. It is being increasingly used nowadays by many countries in addition to the traditional diplomacy. South Korea Foreign Ministry established a Department for Public Diplomacy only a few years ago. In their case not only the public abroad is involved but also the people at home are also allowed to take part in Foreign Policy formulation. This field is relatively new to Myanmar. Upon Myanmar’s request South Korea Foreign Ministry is ready to cooperate with us in this area of diplomacy through experience sharing and specific projects that will enhance capacity development of Myanmar diplomats.
After visiting Seoul, Chairman U Nyunt Maung Shein and delegation flew to Niigata, Japan at the invitation of IR Professor Dr. Zhang Yun of Niigata University from 26 to 29 October 2019. At Niigata University Chairman attended a workshop discussing ILO-Myanmar relations in the past and present on 27 October at the Satellite Campus of Niigata University. On 28 October, he gave a lecture to Master and Ph.D students of IR on Myanmar’s transition: Challenges and Opportunities, while Professor Carole gave a lecture on Myanmar-Japan relations and Public Diplomacy. The talk was followed by a lively round of discussions between the speakers and the students. In the afternoon of 28 October, Chairman and party called on the President of Niigata University Dr. Tatsuo USHIKI. He has visited Myanmar twice before to collaborate with the Ministry of Health on research regarding influenza. He used to be formerly Dean of Medical Faculty of Niigata University which is a prestigious School of Medicine in Japan. It was learnt that there are around ten students from Myanmar doing their Masters and Ph.D course at the University.
Dr. Chen Dongxiao, President of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and his colleagues paid a visit to MISIS to have bilateral exchange of views on Climate Change, US-China Trade War, Indo-Pacific Strategy, RCEP, CMEC and the Rakhine Issue. MISIS has a long standing relation with SIIS. However due to changes in the leadership of SIIS now both sides have renewed contacts and the extension of MoU was signed between MISIS Chairman and President SIIS this morning. The Chinese delegation prior to coming Myanmar also visited India and Nepal.
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