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Brunei pragmatism will settle tiffs: Myanmar ambassador
Publication Date : 14-01-2013
The Asean Chairmanship of Brunei coincides with the heightened US interest in the region which is describes as "pivot", the leadership change in the important +3 countries and the rising nationalists sentiments shown towards the South China Sea, said Myanmar ambassador to Brunei, HE Daw Yin Tin Myint, in an interview with The Brunei Times.
"Myanmar expects that Brunei, with the support of all stake-holders in the region, will lead us in a balanced and pragmatic approach in overcoming the challenges.
"This, in my opinion, could be realised only if we do not lose sight of our ultimate goals — peace, stability and prosperity of the region and its immediate environment," she said.
The observers of Asean are very pleased to acknowledge the progress of Asean so far, said the ambassador.
In the field of political security, Asean had been transforming itself to a rules-based society with the Asean charter in its vanguard. Asean had been fulfilling the required benchmarks to become an Asean Economic Community.
"It is still far away to forge an Asean culture and identity but the aims and activities that have been laid down to promote culture and education [University network, sister-cities projects, exchanges of youths and scholars are few examples] and people-to-people contacts have been yielding positive results in the socio-culture field," she said.
The ambassador added that Asean's aim to become an economic community with a single production base would perhaps manage increasing disparities among Asean, sharing economic benefits and to catch up with the development of rich dialogue partners.
Myanmar is also set to host the Asean Summit next year.
The ambassador said, "Myanmar attaches great importance to assuming Asean Chairmanship in 2014. This is the test for Myanmar to prove that it has come of age politically, economically and socially."
She added that preparations were under way with the formation of the National Preparatory Committee led by Myanmar vice president.
Myanmar was also systematically tackling a wide range of issues such as training of human resources, organisation of meetings, installation of infrastructure for accommodation, transport and conferences and most importantly, to come up with themes and concepts to link with 2013 and 2015 chairmanships.
"With the support of Asean colleagues and dialogue partners, Myanmar hopes to synchronise its development in its foreign relations and economy with meaningful arrangements for Myanmar's Asean chairmanship in 2014," she added.
Since Asean aspired to emerge as One Community by 2015, it was very important that there was coordination in the last three chairmanships in charting out goals and agendas, the ambassador said. Hence, Myanmar wished to learn from Brunei with its programme to attach officials to Brunei's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade this year and then take over in 2014 to ensure continuation and coordination in realising the required tasks at hand.
The relations between Myanmar and Brunei were developing both literally and in the context of Asean, she said.
"With the recent state visit of Myanmar's President U Thein Sein to Brunei in December 2012 at the invitation of the Sultan of Brunei and many more high level visits to come during its chairmanship, the contacts at all levels and understanding between Myanmar and Brunei will be manifold, thus making possible cooperation in various fields to the mutual benefit of the two peoples.
She added that the potential for cooperation in the fields of energy, agriculture and labour was very high. Myanmar would like to learn from Brunei and its rich experience in upstream and downstream projects in the energy sector.
"With a population of 60 million and an abundance of natural resources — food, forests and minerals, Myanmar can become a steady and reliable partner in providing raw and value-added agricultural and forest products to Brunei at a relatively low price. Good quality rice, beans, seafood, teak and hardwoods are a few example," she added.
Myanmar, with a pool of English -speaking skilled and semi-skilled labour, is already contributing to Brunei in the field of health.
We look forward to learning from Brunei in the field of energy by providing engineers and semi-skilled workers, she added.
The ambassador also touched on promoting awareness of Asean and the Asean spirit.
"It is my belief that the connectivity issues of Asean are closely related to promoting awareness of Asean and the Asean spirit," she said.
"We all 10 countries and people belong to Asean. However, we are very different in history, culture, size and state of development. Our knowledge of one another depends on the extent of interaction, made possible by history and proximity. In reality, we know very little of one another," she added.
The ambassador said the Connectivity Master Plan was a deciding factor in increasing our contacts by land, sea and air.
"The more we know about one another, the more we understand why our cultures make us the way we are and that will greatly contribute towards becoming One "True Community by 2015.