Suu Kyi breaks her silence, denies armed clashes and clearance operations in Rakhine state

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/19 17:13:39 Last Updated: 2017/9/20 0:24:32


Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi speaks in Naypyidaw on Tuesday. Suu Kyi said she "feels deeply" for the suffering of "all people" caught up in the Rakhine state conflict. Photo: AFP

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi broke her silence on the Rohingya issue on Tuesday, saying that there had been "no armed clashes and no clearance operations," and that Myanmar does not fear international scrutiny.

Experts interviewed by the Global Times said that the West has been unreasonable to criticize the Myanmar military on the Rohingya issue, and that it may also use the issue to warn Suu Kyi against getting too close with China.

In her first address to the nation since the attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on August 25 sparked a military response that has forced more than 410,000 Rohingya fleeing into Bangladesh, Suu Kyi said, "We condemn all human rights violations and unlawful violence. We are committed to the restoration of peace and stability and the rule of law throughout the state," Reuters reported.

Suu Kyi said she was "aware of the fact that the world's attention is focused on the situation in Rakhine state" and that Myanmar "does not fear international scrutiny."

"Suu Kyi has been pushed into a dilemma. She has little influence on Myanmar's military, which remains in charge of national security, and as a Burmese, she could not totally do as the West wishes without considering her country's interests," said Gu Xiaosong, an expert on Southeast Asian studies at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences.

Suu Kyi is facing growing criticism for saying little about the abuses on the Rohingya. The New York Times even suggested that she be "stripped of her Nobel Prize."

"The West fiercely criticized Suu Kyi because they expect her to push democracy in Myanmar but (they) were disappointed. And the West also want to use the Rohingya issue to warn Suu Kyi against getting too close to China," Zhu Zhenming, a professor at the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Zhu said that Suu Kyi failed to align with the West as they had hoped after she came to power, but instead she sought close ties with China while hoping to retain good relations with the West.

"The West, which believes that the military represents an extreme regime, also wants to suppress Myanmar's military," Zhu said, noting that the Islamic extremists may also take advantage of the situation to extend into Myanmar if the conflict in Rakhine state continues.

The UN has branded as "ethnic cleansing" the military operations in Rakhine state. The US urged the Myanmar government on Monday to end military operations there and to grant humanitarian access, Reuters reported.

"Human rights violations and all other acts that impair stability and harmony and undermine the rule of law will be addressed in accordance with the laws and justice …We feel deeply for the suffering of all the people caught up in the conflict," said Suu Kyi on Tuesday.

"Too much pressure from the outside world would lead to a public backlash in Myanmar, where most of the people support the military operation. All parties should calm down and start talks," Song Qing, an associate professor at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a regular briefing on Tuesday, "We have noted her remarks. We hope her remarks will help the international community gain a better understanding of the situation in Myanmar, and that the international community will support the Myanmar government's efforts in maintaining national stability. As a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, China will continue to offer assistance to Myanmar to maintain national stability and development."



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