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.
H.E. Mr. Saurabh Kumar, Ambassador of India to Myanmar delivered a talk on “Contemporary India-Myanmar Relations: Challenges and Initiatives” at MISIS this morning. He is a diplomat specializing on China and has served as Desk Officer and Desk Director of China at the Indian Foreign Ministry and also as the DCM in Beijing. Before coming to Myanmar, he was Indian Ambassador to Iran. As in the past, MISIS members, Professors and Lectures from the Universities, IR students and interested persons attended the presentation. This is the third time that MISIS hosted an Indian Ambassador to give a lecture.
Professor Dr. Li Chenyang, Pro Rector of Yunnan University led a delegation from Yunnan University to visit MISIS and exchange views on China-US trade war, its impact on Myanmar’s economy; Indo-Pacific concept; Rakhine issue and CEMEC. In attendance from MISIS are its Chairman and most of the members. Professor Li also informed MISIS that the book on China-Myanmar relations which will be published in Chinese, Myanmar and English will be ready by end of this year. It may be recalled that ten scholars from Chinese Scholars and equal number of Myanmar Scholars contributed to the writing of this book. Next year China and Myanmar celebrate 70th years of establishment of Diplomatic Relations and a commemorative event is scheduled to be to be held in China and Myanmar. On that occasion the aforementioned book will be launched. The Professor invited one MISIS member to Yunnan University to conduct research on a topic to be mutually agreed upon for a period of three months. It may be mentioned here that MISIS Chairman, member Daw Than Than Htay, the former Secretary DG Daw Kay Thi Soe and Joint Secretary -1 U Khin Maung Lynn authored a chapter each in the book.
The 7th Meeting between Myanmar and Bangladesh Experts (Think Tanks and Scholars) convened in Singapore from 8-9 July 2019. The meeting was facilitated by HD Centre Geneva and took place at the Swissotel. It was attended by the following think tanks and scholars - Myanmar Side MISIS a) Chairman U Nyunt Maung Shein Member U Wynn Lwin Member Daw Carole Ann Chit Tha b) U Kyaw Myaing UEHRD, Director of Information and Communications c) Commodore (Retd) Aung Thaw Secretary, Myanmar War Veteran Organization d) Dr. Naing Swe Oo Founder and Executive Director (Thayninga Institute) e) Daw Moe Thuzar Researcher, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) f) U Yan Naing Khant Second Secretary, Myanmar Embassy in Singapore Bangladesh Side a) Major - General A.K.M Abdur Rahman DG, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) b) Ambassador (Retd) Humayun Kabir President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute c) Major - General (Retd) Muniruzzaman President, Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies (BIPSS) d) Professor Dr. Shamsul Bari Chairman, Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB) e) Lt. General (Retd) A T M Zahirul Alam Former, Commandant of NDC Bangladesh f) Dr. Amena Mohsin Professor, IR Department, Dhaka University g) Ms. Morioum Begum Shorna Third Secretary, Bangladesh High Commission to Singapore The meeting exchanged views on the following topics - 1. Current situational analysis 2. Update on (humanitarian) situation in Cox’s Bazar and Rakhine State 3. Discussion on repatriation process and preparations on the ground 4. Addressing mutual security issues 5. The role of the region in addressing the current crisis 6. Discussion on next steps and outcome document The 7th meeting was significant. From now on China will play facilitating / mediating role between Myanmar and Bangladesh Experts. Both Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to invite China for this role as they are both close and friendly neighbors of China. Moreover, China is already playing this role between the Governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh. From China the following two representatives of China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) Beijing attended the meeting - a) Dr. Tang Qifang Associate Research Fellow, CIIS b) Dr. Zhang Jian Assistant Research Fellow, CIIS The Chinese side observed the proceedings of the meeting and stated that they will report back to headquarters and added that China may host the ninth meeting in Beijing towards the end of the year.
Ba Hla Aye's presentation at the Roundtable on the Korean Peninsula
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