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AssessmentsJan 16, 2020 | 09:30 GMT
This photo taken on Oct. 2, 2019, shows fishermen boarding their boats at a small jetty on Made Island off Kyaukphyu in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
In Myanmar, Beijing Gets a Leg up on the Competition
For China, there's no time like the present to foster closer links with a key country on its frontier. Amid China's push for better transport connections, tighter border control and deeper energy security to the south, President Xi Jinping will begin a two-day visit to Myanmar on Jan. 17. Negotiations regarding some megaprojects have sparked significant concerns about China's looming presence -- and its strategic intentions -- in Myanmar, but the country may find its options to push back significantly curtailed. Indeed, with Myanmar facing Western isolation over its treatment of the Rohingya and struggling to forge national unity, China's assistance is more essential than ever if Naypyidaw is to fulfill some of its domestic priorities -- namely, advancing a peace process with ethnic armies along the northern border, managing the Rohingya crisis and developing the weak Myanmar economy. Such a situation, naturally, is bound to put China in a
AssessmentsDec 10, 2019 | 20:10 GMT
Myanmar army generals Tun Tun Nyi, Soe Naing Oo and Zaw Min Tun (left to right) discuss their intent to thwart constitutional changes by the governing National League for Democracy.
How Myanmar's Elections Could Dampen Its Investment Climate
In the months leading up to Myanmar's late 2020 elections, an atmosphere of political uncertainty and a risk-averse approach to reforms will combine to make it difficult for the country to attract foreign investment, even as it pushes to diversify beyond Chinese involvement. Myanmar's next government will likely be more divided and incoherent than the one now led by the National League for Democracy, with added complexity expected as ethnic minority, military-aligned and other parties jockey for position. More immediately, in the run-up to the election, the risks associated with spikes in anti-Muslim communal violence, stepped-up military offensives in ethnic border regions and a stagnating peace process with insurgents will rise. These factors, combined with the global trade slowdown, could limit Myanmar's economic growth. The 2020 vote, coming a decade into Myanmar's post-dictatorship period, will be a key test for the country's new political balance.
AssessmentsMay 3, 2017 | 14:33 GMT
Only two of Myanmar's major ethnic militias signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in 2015, blunting the country's efforts to end decades of insurgency.
The Path To Peace in Myanmar Bends Toward China
Myanmar's peace process is lurching forward, though not in the way the government may have hoped. Of the more than 20 ethnic groups fighting in the country, only two of significant size have signed a national cease-fire accord. And signing the accord could be a requirement for participating in an upcoming government conference that is the next step in the thus-far fruitless attempt to end decades of conflict in the country.
AssessmentsMar 16, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
Myanmar: A Proxy President Inherits Proxy Wars
What Myanmar's New President Can't Fix
Myanmar's onetime opposition party successfully chose its first civilian president this week to replace President Thein Sein, a former general. The accession of National League for Democracy (NLD) stalwart Htin Kyaw to the office March 30 will end the slow and planned transition from military to quasi-civilian rule, a process that began in 2010. The NLD has never held power and, perhaps because of its decades in opposition, enjoys high levels of popularity and a party brand that emphasizes sound, Western-style economic reform. However, its attempts to govern the restive border regions through political means will be sabotaged by the military.
AssessmentsFeb 14, 2016 | 14:04 GMT
Fall of Singapore
The Beginning of the End of the British Empire
On Jan. 31, 1942, Allied engineers blew a hole in the causeway linking the island city of Singapore to the Malay Peninsula, hoping to slow the advance of Japanese Imperial troops down the coastline. The blast resounded throughout the city. As the story goes, 19-year-old university student and future prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew was walking across campus at that moment. When his British headmaster, passing by, asked what the sound was, Lee responded, "That is the end of the British Empire." Japanese troops landed on the beaches eight days later, and Singapore was hopelessly surrounded. On Feb. 15, British forces were forced to surrender. Before the astonishing defeat, the loss of Singapore was unthinkable for Britain. Winston Churchill had called Singapore the "Gibraltar of the East," an impregnable fortress at the heart of the empire. Japan's surprise victory shook that empire and marked the start of an epochal
AssessmentsNov 25, 2015 | 09:15 GMT
Myanmar Cannot Ignore China
The next phase of Myanmar’s political transition has been settled. The results of the country's Nov. 8 elections have confirmed that the opposition National League for Democracy now holds a healthy majority in parliament and can form a new government without the help of the formerly ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party. For the first time since Myanmar's 1962 coup, a fully civilian party will lead the government, though it will still have to vie for power with the country's military elite.
AssessmentsOct 8, 2015 | 09:30 GMT
Myanmar's Ethnic Militants
Myanmar's Ethnic War Grinds On
Myanmar's President Thein Sein has spent his four-year term trying to negotiate peace with the numerous ethnic armed groups on the periphery of the geographically fractured country. The strategy was meant to unfold in three stages: negotiated cease-fires with individual groups, a nationwide cease-fire agreement and, finally, an inclusive political dialogue. But the strategy did not unfold as planned, and now, with elections weeks away, the government has opted for a compromise. On Oct. 15, eight armed groups will sign the nationwide cease-fire agreement, down from the 15 militias initially meant to sign. After elections, negotiations will resume both with signatories and holdout groups. After elections, negotiations will resume both with signatories and holdout groups. But, though these agreements may stand temporarily, negotiating the end of a deeply divided, multi-generational insurgency is no small task and will be beset by divisions, backsliding and delays.
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