The admission of Burma into ASEAN and the reluctance of ASEAN to resolve Burma’s ongoing political turmoil (the most recent, 2010 elections) have sparked off much debate and controversy among the member states as well as the international community. This is because ASEAN upheavals the non-interference principle in managing its inter-relations, indicating lack of credibility, importance and unity. Therefore, this policy memo will suggest some short and long term strategies that will re-orientate political and economic change in Burma in accordance to ASEAN’s interest.
Firstly, the reputation of ASEAN is closely linked to the measures that should be taken to resolve ...view middle of the document...
Regional Stake Holders
The United States are negotiating on free trade agreements (TIFA) with ASEAN, though the negotiations are relatively inactive due to some hindrances such as lack of transparency, large amount of bureaucratic paperwork to do business, especially in Burma (Aung Zwa) inequality (preferential policies) barring foreigners from the lucrative public procurement sector practiced by some member states of ASEAN (Lee Hock Guan). Besides that on the foreign policy and security front, the United States realizes the importance of ASEAN in facilitating to materialize its interest, to contain the rising of China and thus to remain as the hegemonic power in South East Asia. ASEAN is also playing as a key partner in combating against terrorism. This is because some Islamic extremist groups which are linked to Al-Qaeda had been using ASEAN countries to meet up for their attacks.
Firstly, there has been an influx of assistance, trade and investment from China to Burma. This can be seen as in just ten years, trade between Burma and China grew from US$15million to US$800 million. For instance, from 1991 to 1995, about $US740 million of approximately US$1 billion in arms purchased by Burma came from China. Therefore, China maintains a good relation with Burma because Burma had been importing its military hardware. Secondly, infrastructure development projects are supported by the China government such as road and railways intended to link Yunan with deep water port to Andaman. This is essential because it provides easy access for China to Indian Ocean, facilitating its maritime activities. The Chinese have also utilized their growing ties and Burma’s dependency to extend their influence into the Andaman Seas through the involvement of the Chinese navy in the development of naval port facilities. Besides that, in 2009 state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation started building a crude oil port in Burma, part of a pipeline that will carry 12 million metric tons of crude oil a year from the Middle East and Africa through Burma into China, roughly 6 percent of China’s total imports last year. Another pipeline, slated to come online in 2012, will have a capacity to bring in 12 million cubic meters of gas from Burma into China.
United Nations (UN)
Firstly, UN’s image is at stake because it had showed how difficult it is to translate ‘responsibility to protect’ into action. This is because in 2008, the United Nations announced that 171 nations have agreed that they would intervene, forcefully if necessary, if a state failed to protect its own people in a summit celebrating the organization's 60th birthday. However, this pledge is meaningless as one-third of children under 5 were undernourished with 3 percent of government spending going to public health, compared with 40 percent to the military in Burma.
Key actors in the rapidly Changing political situation in Burma