Regional


The Indo Myanmar Chamber of Commerce Industries and the Burmese government have agreed to promote cross-border trade and development of Burma’s agricultural sector after a meeting on Saturday.

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At a joint news conference in Bangkok on June 24, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also the country’s foreign minister, hailed the beginning of a new era of cooperation between the two neighbors.

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“Pauk phaw,” translated from the Burmese language as “sibling relations,” is how long-standing ties between Myanmar and China have been traditionally described. The term is back in the news. It appeared in the recent joint communique issued at the close of Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Beijing in August, in which she received a state welcome, and also on the front page of the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar on Aug. 20.

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The governments of Indonesia and Myanmar will sign a memorandum of understanding next month to continue a rice export agreement. But the respective commerce ministers will then have to tackle an unresolved issue over payment for a previous shipment that failed to comply with Indonesian regulations.

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China and Myanmar have shared a geopolitically strategic 2185-kilometre (1358-mile) border since the end of World War II. During the great power politics of the post-war era, the leaderships of the two nations fine-tuned postures of neutrality and non-alignment throughout the Cold War. U Nu and Zhou Enlai, the premiers of the two nations, stood together at the forefront of the non-aligned movement.

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Burma and India have inked four memorandums of understanding (MoU) to promote bilateral cooperation in the areas of traditional medicine, renewable energy and infrastructural connectivity.

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More than 260 Myanmar migrants, including 104 undocumented labourers who were forced to work in Thailand, have been rescued by responsible organizations of Thailand and Myanmar, state media reported on 29 August.

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Two visiting high profile Indian economists have called on Myanmar government policy makers to be cautious in how they handle the economy, taking particular care in how they balance the need for State control with the uncertainties of market forces.

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Japan is planning to offer Myanmar loans totalling ¥100 billion (about K1.19 trillion, or US$995 million) for infrastructure development, Kyodo reported on August 26, quoting a Japanese government source.

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After over 20 years of sanctions and international pariah status, Myanmar has begun to come in from the cold. It has taken the 2010 elections, a new ‘civilian’ president and the by-elections of early 2012 to convince the international community that the transition to democracy is ‘real’.

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Relations between China and Myanmar took a positive turn this month during Aung San Suu Kyi’s five-day visit to China as Myanmar’s de facto leader.

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China has extended an offer to assist Myanmar with a large-scale project to prevent natural disasters, says the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

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Aung San Suu Kyi is playing her diplomatic cards shrewdly, choosing China as the first country outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to visit in her new capacity as Myanmar’s de facto leader.

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Some 200 Burmese nationals seeking employment in neighbouring Thailand signed job contracts at a press conference held in Rangoon over the weekend to publicise a new “ethical recruitment” scheme.

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Isn’t there any likelihood of Myanmar being won over by China and exploited in the larger nation’s self-serving schemes?

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As controversy continues to swirl around allegations that the Myanmar government was condoning the “legal trafficking” of migrant workers to overseas jobs, it has emerged that more than 100 employment agencies have signed up to a new code of conduct.

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Thanks but no thanks, the Myanmar government may be preparing to say to a major Chinese lender. As Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi discussed the future of the controversial Myitsone dam project and other aspects of Myanmar-Chinese relations in Beijing, questions were being raised as to whether the country needs to take on an additional US$300 million in Chinese debt.

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The Indian Army is maintaining pressure on insurgent groups with “seek-and-destroy operations and surgical strikes” along the 1,643-km porous land border with Myanmar, even as external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is slated to visit Naypyidaw on Monday.

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The Myanmar military has denied there was a recent exchange of gunfire on Myanmar soil between the Indian army and an ethnic armed group, state media reported on 22 August.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping told Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday China wants to ensure relations develop in the “correct direction”, as Burmese activists wrote to Xi saying they want China to address concern about a stalled dam project.

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