South Korea is stepping up to make inroads into Myanmar as the Southeast Asian country’s fledgling reforms widen access to its huge natural resources, market potential and geopolitical position. President Lee Myung-bak became the first Korean leader to land in the country since 1983 when a North Korean terrorist bombing killed 17 Seoul officials accompanying then-President.
The United States and Europe used sanctions and public diplomacy to try to effect change in Burma. We cut off non-humanitarian funds, targeted the regime with stiff sanctions, and publicly challenged the junta on its human rights abuses.
In recent years, the Chinese regime has proposed establishing soft power. But Beijing’s understanding of soft power is “money diplomacy plus grand overseas propaganda.” Actually, this kind of soft power can only be effective for a short period.
Clinton - with security and journalists in tow - went barefoot at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda and rang a bell with a giant wooden mallet as onlookers cheered. It was the type of public diplomacy that is Clinton's forte as a former politician, although many of those snapping her photo were tourists and she had little direct contact with local Burmese.
Voice of America’s Burmese Service is reporting a sharp increase in direct visits to its popular webpage since Burma’s government lifted firewall restrictions in September. Burmese Service Chief Than Lwin Htun says visits to VOA Burmese language social media sites, including Youtube and Twitter, have also increased.
Laos and Myanmar...are grappling with decisions on whether to build massive hydropower dams on the two significant rivers. The projects could put fragile ecology and associated livelihoods at risk, but the dams could help the two countries reap billions of dollars by exporting the megawatts to China and Thailand, two neighbors with rapidly growing energy demand.
Hein Min Aung is a former Burmese child soldier, a young man brave enough to fly halfway around the world at the invitation of Human Rights Action Center to speak in Congress about his experience in the government army of the country of Burma. He hopes that his testimony will raise awareness about the plight of the nearly 70,000 other child soldiers still fighting in Burma today.
Aung San Suu Kyi's Reith Lectures were secretly recorded in Burma and smuggled out of the country. After the first lecture was played to an audience at Broadcasting House in London, Ms Suu Kyi joined the audience's discussion via a satellite link from Burma.