Foreign Minister Kono Visits Myanmar
January 12, 2018
On January 12, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, during his visit to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, held a meeting and a joint press conference with H.E. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and held a meeting with H.E. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, in the capital Naypyitaw. The overview of the meetings is as follows.
Meeting with State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and Joint Press Conference
- Minister Kono began by offering his congratulations on the 70th anniversary of the independence of Myanmar. He noted that Japan will provide maximum assistance to the Myanmar government's democratic state building by bringing together its public and private sectors and contribute to stability and prosperity of Myanmar through cooperation for Thilawa Special Economic Zone and enhancement of connectivity.
- Minister Kono also stated that Japan will implement aid projects in the areas of urban development of Yangon, transportation and electricity so that Myanmar people can actually feel a sense of improvements of their living conditions by 2020. He confirmed the direction of cooperation for improvement of the Yangon Circular Railway, the preparatory surveys for the construction of the North-South Line and East-West Line, improvement of the Yangon-Mandalay Railway by Japan's official development assistance (ODA), the development projects of the areas around the train stations in Yangon City by Japanese private companies and the LNG import and power generation project proposed by Japanese private companies. Moreover, he also stated that together with Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Special Envoy of the Government of Japan for National Reconciliation in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Japanese government will provide maximum support for peace process.
- In response, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi expressed her appreciation for Japan's consistent support for democratization of Myanmar and requested for continuous assistance for stability and prosperity of Myanmar. She also stated that she recognizes transportation and electricity is the most pressing challenge, urban development in Yangon City including improvement of the Circular Railway is significant for resolving traffic congestion in Yangon. She also thanked for Special Envoy Mr. Sasakawa and the Japanese government's support for peace building.
- With regard to the situation in Rakhine State, Minister Kono urged the Myanmar government for: (i) expanded access for humanitarian assistance, including by the United Nations, (ii) safe and voluntary return and resettlement of the displaced persons, (iii) progress on tackling root causes through implementation of the recommendations by the Advisory Commission led by Dr. Kofi Annan. Minister Kono also stated that, in order to provide maximum support for the efforts by the Myanmar government, Japan will provide new assistance, in addition to that which has already been announced, including pavage of roads, construction of power lines, and construction of approximately fifteen schools in Rakhine State. With regard to the new assistance, Minister Kono mentioned that, firstly, Japan has decided to extend contribution of 3 million US dollars to provide materials as emergency assistance specifically for acceptance and resettlement of the returning displaced persons and secondly, Japan is considering providing humanitarian assistance, amounting approximately 20 million US dollars, for the residents in Rakhine State, based on the assumption that it will be approved by the Japanese Diet. Minister Kono, appreciating Myanmar government's response to the incident in Indin village, also called on the Government of Myanmar to conduct a reliable and transparent investigation of its own, taking in some international advice, and implement appropriate measures in accordance with its result, ensure access for UN and media in the area and take appropriate actions on the issue of the Reuters journalists.
- In response, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi expressed her appreciation on Japan's assistance for the development of Rakhine State and stated that Myanmar will make efforts for effective implementation of assistance, implement safe and voluntary return and acceptance of the displaced persons in accordance with the agreement with Bangladesh, take actions considering various aspects including reconciliation between the communities, press freedom and rule of law. She also mentioned that the response to the incident in Indin village was important as a response based on rule of law.
- Finally, they discussed the situation of North Korea including the abductions issue. Minister Kono stated that it is important to maximize pressure on North Korea by using all possible means, including implementation of the UNSC resolutions. In response, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi replied that Myanmar will take actions in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and cooperate with Japan.
- The joint press conference was held following the meeting.
Meeting with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services
- At the outset Minister Kono stated that the constructive role of the Armed Forces is very important for further stabilization and development of Myanmar, particularly realization of peace with ethnic minorities and national reconciliation and Japan will continuously support Myanmar's democratic state building. In response, Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing expressed his appreciation for Japan's advice and assistance for democratization of Myanmar.
- Minister Kono, noting the progress of bilateral defense exchange and cooperation, explained that Japan is promoting Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and would like to cooperate with Myanmar which has strategic importance in the region. With regard to the situation in Rakhine State, Minister Kono, appreciating the Armed Force's attitude to implement investigation and take an appropriate action on the incident in Indin village, called on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to restore security based on the rule of law, realize smooth return of the displaced persons, create an environment which enables safe and voluntary return and resettlement of the displaced persons, take proper actions to ensure the UN and media's access in the area, conduct a credible and transparent investigation with international advice and take appropriate measures in accordance with its result. He also explained the new assistance programs for improvement of the situation in Rakhine State.
- In response, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing expressed his appreciation for Japan's assistance and stated that the Armed Forces will act in accordance with the rules and make efforts to acquire understanding from the international community regarding the issue of Rakhine State.