Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was in Thailand in late June for talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on developing economic ties and cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). In an email interview, Mely Caballero-Anthony, an associate professor the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, discusses Myanmar’s relations with its ASEAN neighbors.
WPR: What efforts has Myanmar taken since its political opening to build ties with its ASEAN neighbors, and how effective has its outreach been?
Mely Caballero-Anthony: One of Myanmar’s most significant achievements since the start of its political reforms in 2011 was its successful chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014. It was the first time that Myanmar assumed its turn as chair of the grouping since joining ASEAN in 1997. It had been denied its turn in 2008 due to its record of political repression.