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Business Day: ASEAN Backs Construct

Subject: Business Day: ASEAN Backs Constructive Engagement 

Business Day, Bangkok, December 16-17, 1995

Forum Backs Construtive Engagement With Myanmar

ASEAN will continue its policy of "constructive engagement"
in Myanmar and expects this to encourage a more open regime
in Yangon, Thai Deputy Premier Amnuay Virawan said

Dr Amnuay told reporters that a timetable for Myanmar entry
would be discussed at the summit of the seven Asean states
plus Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

Dr Amnuay was speaking after a bilateral meeting between
Thai Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa and his Myanmar
counterpart, Senior General Than Shwe, ahead of the summit.

The Myanmar side made no comment after the session.
"Asean still has the same policy of constructive engagement
as far as Myanmar is concerned. "We will not interfere in
the internal politics of anyone," he said.

Asked whether Myanmar entry into the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) might encourage the military
junta in Yangon to open up the regime, Dr Amnuay said: "If
history is any indication, I think that would probably be
the case."

Asean's policy of constructive engagement is based on the
premise that increased contacts with the outside world will
encourage change in Myanmar.

The policy contrasts with that of Western nations led by the
United States who say change can best be effected through
isolation of Yangon.

"We believe that by joining the Asean process, there will be
some cooperative process which would be of great benefit to
the people of participating countries," Dr Amnuay remarked.

He acknowledged some existing border problems with Myanmar
in addition to those with Laos and Cambodia.

But Dr Amnuay said: "We feel these can be overcome quickly
through more frequent dialogue and more visits by senior

[Business Day is a daily business newspaper from Bangkok]
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