Chairman of the State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing Answered the Questions Raised by RIA News Agency of Russian Federation

The Chairman of the State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing held an interview with RIA special correspondent Ms Kukushkina Tatiana from Rossiya Segodnya News Agency at the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in Vladivostok, Russian Federation. The interview is described as follows –

Q – Firstly, the CRCS new agency expresses the heart-felt gratitude for sharing the time with us to hold this interview. That is second visit of your excellency to Russian Federation and your new agency also held an interview with your excellency during your first visit to attend this Moscow International Security Forum in last year. We’ve already met with you several times in the previous years. During the Moscow International Security Conference held last year, your excellency pointed out that the security threats of Asia-Pacific region has significantly increased. Today, we witness the new security environment due to the recent developments in the vicinity of Taiwan. In this regard, we’d like to hear your comments on the situation in the region whether it might lead to armed conflicts evolving from the ongoing conflicts and problems. That is our first question and kindly answer the likelihood of the armed conflicts in the region.

A – In review of the United States and Taiwan relations, it is found out to highly impact on the One China Policy of the People Republic of China. The One China Policy is recognized both by China and United States. Moreover, it is also found out that the visits of other US officials to Taiwan is apparently adding fuel to the fire. That is a serious concern for us. Therefore, some countries with worries and dislike such activities will response to the situation. I don’t think such responses would support the stability and peace of the region. We all must be aware of that. We also find the sales of weapons and ammunition by US to Taiwan following such situation. Armed trade is also found out to be one of US’s major economic businesses. Looking back the Ukraine crisis, we will see the similar situation. They first create problems and then sell weapons to them. By supporting the reserve weapons, they attempt to change the form of war. Like I said earlier, armed trade is also found out to be one of US’s major economic businesses. So, if the reserve weapons were sold out, they have to reproduce new weapons. Everyone knowing about the nature of war will see it. That is the first point we find. As the second point, regarding the question whether the conflict will deteriorate, I presume that most countries will attempt to avoid such situation. It would be better to make efforts to revive the falling economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To get the point, I hope our people will express thanks to the world countries if they help us recover the damaged economy due to the pandemic rather than minding on the arm trade.

Q – Next, we would like to know about the situation of political stability in Myanmar. Moreover, we also would like to know the progress of the Government’s efforts to control recent political unrests.

A – I’d like to comment that the situation is now generally under control. There was intense situation of violent riots in 2021. Likewise, other several acts of vandalism and killings also occurred in the country. However, we also notably found that the rate of such terrorist acts significantly declined starting from April. So, we could presume that the situations are now under control. However, I do not mean the acts of terrorism absolutely ended in our country. Such acts are still occurring in some states and regions. I would like to say the government is taking measures to restore peace and stability of the country with utmost efforts rather than now.

Q – I noticed that in your answer for the first question, your excellency pointed out that the Western countries are providing weapons in order to disrupt the regional peace and stability of other countries. So, my question is whether there are any other countries providing the weapons behind the unstable political situations in Myanmar and the government has been able to arrest and detain those supporters.

A – Yes, indeed! There are many instances of such situation. We noticed that weapons and ammunition supported from Ethnics Armed Organizations (EAOs) are being interrelated with the acts of violence starting from last year. Particularly, I noticed supports of such weapons and ammunition from the KIA armed insurgent group in Northern part of Myanmar. Secondly, so does the KNU armed insurgent group in South Eastern part of Myanmar. As a result, it is found out that most of those weapons/ammunition were bought from illegal arms dealers with the use of cash assistance supported by the people in local and foreign countries, and then provided to protesters. As of the end of August, nearly 3,000 weapons including pistols and automatic rifles were seized.  likewise, above 300,000 rounds of bullets were also confiscated. Actually, these weapons and ammunition are very scary and dangerous. Meanwhile, the government is taking measures to identify the transportation routes of those weapons as much as possible and arrested those persons who transport the weapons. I believe that all of this will end after a certain period of time.

Q – Regarding the aforementioned matter, how much time will take to resolve these issues?

A – It’s a little difficult to predict when these issues will be resolved. At present, there are armed insurgent groups recognized by the government. We call them “Ethnic-Armed Organizations-EAOs”. We have invited them and held peace talks with them. Now, we are holding meetings with them for second time. From these talks, we will discuss what they want and what the country should be, etc., and then we will eventually find out the possible solution for us. After we have sought the possible solution, I believe that the supply of weapons/ammunition through the EAOs areas will accordingly stop. Here, we can distinguish two types of violence. First one is the former armed organizations demanding their ethnic rights. Second one is the EAOs that have already signed Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government after inviting them to participate in peace talks since 2011. In this regard, there are 10 NCA signatories. On the other hand, there are six NCA non-signatories. Currently, we are holding discussions with these groups. The next point is other terrorist organizations that emerged depending on the 2020 general election’s results. But we have nothing to discuss with them. Moreover, although we made requests to the responsible officials to resolve the voting frauds in accordance with the laws and procedures, they failed to resolve the issues. At the meantime, they turned into riots. So, we have to take legal actions against those who are on the course of terrorism. At present, discussions are in progress with 10 NCA signatories. But we need to hold talks with other NCA non-signatories and we have already invited them. I believe that it will succeed if they will participate in the talks based on their political visions. I set two political goals which are walking on the path of multi-party democracy and building a Union based on democracy and federalism for Myanmar. It meets what every national people desires. So, we are making negotiations with them. Depending on it, we said armed conflicts will soon come to an end.

Q – Regarding the economic condition of Myanmar, following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, most countries are in recession. Are there any chance to hold the general election in the current economic condition or is it appropriate?

A – It is true that Myanmar was in recession due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. The first COVID-19 case was detected in Myanmar in March 2020. As of the statistics, Myanmar was in recession even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, Myanmar’s economy deteriorated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The second factor is the halt of economic functions due to the outbreak of violence that led to recession. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is now apparently under control and so are the acts of violence in the country. It can be said that our country’s economy starts to be steady. Our government is attempting to recover the national economy. Politics is related to economic climate. If the national economy is in downward trend, the political climate might be slightly unstable. In this regard, we are creating economic recovery. With regard to the general election, the first election was organized in 2010; the second in 2015; and the third in 2020. The first election was organized in 325 townships out of 330 townships. The second election was organized in 323 townships out of 330 townships. The third election was organized only in 315 townships out of 330 townships. The general election is crucial for democracy.  Only after the general election, the Union-level body formed administrative bodies with elected representatives and then, they will be selected and assigned tasks. It means that it is required to ensure that the general public is entitled to enjoy the rights.

In every general election, the decreasing number of townships shows the loss of democracy and human rights of the local residents. In fact, all of the people have the right to take part in the general election according to democracy and human rights. My ambition is to hold the general election throughout the country without any gap. I noticed one of the questions you asked earlier is related to the peace matter. The peace matter is related to the general election. Accordingly, I am trying to restore peace for those who live in some areas so that they can run for the general election. Therefore, I’m making utmost efforts as much as I can. Successful or unsuccessful general election largely depends on the progress in peace process, the economic growth and the political stability. I’d like to remark that we are making our utmost efforts to organize the general election as I said earlier. One thing we have to emphasize is that it is required to ensure the general election is free and fair. In addition, it should be free from the pressure of external elements that force the people to cast their votes as they wish. It is crucial for people to cast their votes freely in the general elections. This will let the people to express their genuine desire and feeling. I am trying for that.

Q – We presumed that it is unlikely to be able to hold the general elections in coming short period of time after reviewing the current political development in Myanmar and your discussion points. Are there any plan to postpone the coming election?

A – It is now too early to answer that question. We have around five months to hold the elections. We will make certain decision depending on the situation. In politics, we cannot make decisions in advance as we have to wait and see the progress.

Q – It is reported that Myanmar will cooperate with Russian Federation on the matter of fuel oil exports that make troubles to all countries of the world. In this regard, we’d like to know whether Myanmar has already imported fuel oil from Russia. If doing so, will the payment be carried out using Rubles of Russian currency?

A – Our attempts to purchase fuel oil from Russia is now quite progressing. The fuel oil we’ve purchased will arrive Myanmar within days. Regarding the payment, we will pay with the currency accepted by Russia. In case it is to pay with Russian Rubles, we will manage to do so. There will be certain limitations if we use other type of currency. Therefore, we will try our best.

Q – Russian Federation and Myanmar have shared prolong good diplomatic relations. The bilateral cooperation has been most successful and primary fundamentals. The military cooperation is found to be in good progress. At this point, we’d like to know whether Myanmar has plans to additionally purchase state-of-the-earth military and defence weapons from Russia according to the latest world’s geo-politic situation. Moreover, amid the regional situation and the balance of global geo-politics, will Myanmar allow representatives of Russian Defence Ministry and its bases to settle in the territory of Myanmar.

A – The defence cooperation between Myanmar and Russian has been over two decades and gaining momentum as well. The defence weapons produced by Russian Federation is no doubt highly-advanced and also actually contribute to the defence of the Nation. Regarding the settlement of foreign troops in Myanmar, it is prohibited by our State’s Constitution. We are not supposed to do any action breaching the Constitution. Therefore, we must find better solutions how to seek our best cooperation within the framework of the State’s Constitution. The settlement of military bases in Myanmar territory is not allowed but I see many potentials of cooperation areas and opportunities between us.

Q – In the latest geo-politic development, United States apparently have a distaste for the enhancement of cooperation between Myanmar and Russia. For instance, United States made a statement saying that the cooperation of Myanmar and Russia somehow disrupt the Myanmar’s cooperation with ASEAN. Therefore, we’d like to hear your comment on the worries of the United States on the improving cooperation between Russia and Myanmar.

A – We might see the answer if we look back the recent past. Particularly, other countries. I will review the situation what actually happened in ASEAN region. In the past, ASEAN and Southeast Asian countries encountered instabilities and conflicts and now they enjoy peace and stability. There are many instances proving that United States had assisted the opposing organisations and leaders against the then incumbent governments of the countries directly or indirectly. So far, the United States is doing so. However, it is obviously found out that Russia has never encouraged or supported organizations that might disrupt the stabilities of Southeast Asian Countries in Soviet era and at present as well. That is the clear evidence as well as a difference. ASEAN is now a strong and growing economic hub in the world. ASEAN has its own stance. The strength of ASEAN might provoke a change in the world order. Therefore, the United States apparently wants the ASEAN not to take side of Russia. Myanmar, as a member of ASEAN will also assume that. We are striving with the encouragement of ASEAN. As the result of such encouragement, it is also found out that United States is also urging its close partners of other ASEAN member States. In reviewing this situation, it is observed that United States is making attempts to provoke a change by the influence of their narrative of democracy, human rights and the dollars backed by them in economic.

Q – Regarding the ASEAN member States, we’d like to know how other ASEAN members contribute to the internal affairs and political stability of Myanmar because it is reported that Myanmar was not invited to attend an event organized by ASEAN. In this regard, I’d like to remark that acts of some ASEAN member States lead to deteriorate the internal stability of Myanmar. For that reason, we’d like to ask whether such situation meets the ASEAN charter and the principles of the member States. We’d like to hear your remark.

A – Our country Myanmar became a member of ASEAN in 1997. We are solemnly following the principles of ASEAN charter. There are ASEA’s way, ASEAN’s spirit and ASEAN’s practice in the ASEAN charter. We are following all of them. The ASEAN charter clearly defines its exact principles to be followed. Myanmar has never conducted any act that breaches the charter. If the ASEAN members exactly follow the ASEAN charter, such problems would never have occurred. Our government stands in accordance with our 2008 State Constitution. It must be recognized. The actions we’ve taken were in line with the Constitution recognized by our entire people. Here, I’d like to remark that the responses of some ASEAN member States on the controversies occurred on the election results do not meet with the ASEAN charter.

Q – I’d like to know whether it requires any intervention of ASEAN member States with their representatives to help deal with the current political situation of Myanmar or whether such intervention might lead to provoke more difficulties in resolving the current political situation?

A – In fact, that is our internal affair. There is no chance of intervention by ASEAN in our internal affairs. The Five-Point Consensus was reached at the ASEAN Summit last year with their own conclusion as they wished, and it is found out that some of the points in the Consensus interfered in our internal affairs. However, we are taking all possible measures to solve our internal affairs. If they help us with proper means, there is no reason to reject it.  However, it is not possible to allow them if their measures go beyond the existing laws of our country and it will be allowed by no other countries as well. In this regard, we will cooperate in the areas where we can work together. Otherwise, we will try to solve the problems ourselves.

Q – We witness that countries of Western bloc including the media agencies backed by them are always describing news reports about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the Heads of former Government of Myanmar. I understand that legal proceedings are being taken against her as she is mainly responsible for electoral malpractices against existing laws enacted in Myanmar. Recently, the decision was made to transfer her to the prison from the house arrest. In this regard, we’d like to know whether there might be changes for the decision.

A – At first, we started to take legal action against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi based on the situation that occurred as the results of the general election, particularly, the situation in connection with the general election. We repeatedly informed her to solve our findings of electoral frauds. However, as she ignored and failed to solve it, unwelcome problems and political dilemma occurred in February 2021. At that point, we have to prove the electoral malpractices that took place in the general election. Therefore, we have to prove that she is responsible for such electoral frauds on legal course. We made investigation on the electoral malpractices under the Election Law. At first, we granted leniency towards her. During our investigation, we also spotted other unlawful matters, particularly related to Anti-corruption Law. Accordingly, it was followed by legal proceedings. Against this backdrop of such situation, we have to take legal proceedings against her. We placed her under house arrest when we began further investigation. After that, further actions were taken in accordance with the relevant laws. It is too early to say about further decision to be made. When all trials are completed and the whole situation ended, we can say about it.

Q – I had read the news reports regarding the most severe punishment recently given to former four members of the NLD party in Myanmar. So, the last question I would like to ask is “Why did you have to give them such severe punishment?”

A– There is a word “No One above the Law”. Regarding four criminals who were sentenced to severe punishments, we found two parts (groups) for these four people. The first group is the hardcore members of NLD party who used to be in the party leadership as you mentioned in your question. It is related to them. We had no problems with the demonstrations, protests and riots that took place in our country. However, when the riots and protests evolved into the violent acts of killings and bombing attacks, we will have to figure out why these acts happened. In this regard, when we attempted to find out the root causes, the first point is the aforementioned four criminals made certain managements and also encouraged such terrorist attacks. Their acts of terrorism claimed the lives of many people including civil servants, innocent civilians, teachers, health staff, monks and nuns. Such outcomes are the unwelcome consequences caused by their premediated attempts, encouragement and management. Such conditions certainly must be taken legal action. Likewise, the other two criminals are also related to cases of brutal murders. Let me tell you an example. A man/woman killed a person using gun. In this case, he or she killed a person with single shot. The person may or may not die with a single shot. A person was shot once and then run away to avoid being shot again. Anyway, the attacker is attempting to kill a person. But, if a man/woman shot a person with two, three, four or five shots, his or her action is to willfully kill the person on purpose. The aforementioned criminals are the ones who shot the people with not a single shot but two, three, four and five shots and also stabbed them to death. So, punishment is given to those who committed such crimes. And, how can you forgive the criminals like this? How will the bereaved families of the deceased ones feel? We have to put ourselves in the shoes of their relatives. Therefore, we have not sentenced such punishments before. But their actions were the most brutal ones and therefore, we have to make the decision to sentence such severe punishments to them. 

Thank you very much for your patience and complete answers to this interview.


Source: Myawady Daily Newspaper (14-9-2022)


Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 20:30
September, 2022