Since 2011, Myanmar has made substantial progress in its democratic process. Among the key tasks for the political reform, reconciliation with the country’s multiple armed ethnic groups has been the most challenging. The lack of trust, goodwill and willingness to compromise all undermine the prospect of a sustainable peaceful solution. Particularly because Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts affect the prospect of Myanmar’s political reform they are a factor in US policy toward the country. Issues involving border ethnic groups, in particular, and the Kachin conflict also touch sensitive national interests of China on border security, stability and economic investment. The overlapping interests of the two powers, however, have not translated into cooperation. Instead, China’s concern over the “internationalization” of the Kachin issue has obstructed a more active role by the US and other countries.
Tom Kramer, a TNI researcher based in Myanmar discussed the development of the peace process, the obstacles to the national reconciliation and how the success/failure will affect the reform and the 2015 elections. Yun Sun, Fellow at Stimson Center, focused on the Kachin conflict and the interest groups that undermine the prospect of peace. She reported findings on the U.S.-China interaction in the Kachin issue from her recent trips to the Kachin state. Alan D. Romberg, director of Stimson’s East Asia program, served as moderator.
Here’s the full event: