Since Myanmar opened in 2011, it has been developing relationships with the outside world. While the democratic elections of 2015 encouraged the Western world, several large obstacles remain, including human rights violations and concerns about Myanmar’s relationship with the DPRK. After the Fourth Myanmar-US/UK Nonproliferation Dialogue in Naypyidaw on December 5-6, 2016, Young Leaders assessed Myanmar’s relationships and recommended ways their countries could improve relations with Myanmar, with a focus on strengthening the nonproliferation regime. The following articles are a selection of those recommendations.
In the first article, Lauren Hickok looks at the future of US-Myanmar relations under the Trump administration. She suggests that the administration would do well to engage Myanmar on key issues including political liberalization, respect for human rights, limiting the illicit economy, and participation in global nonproliferation. She explains that a solid bilateral groundwork has been established, and that the relationship will remain sound if productive exchanges are permitted to continue.
Joanna Micah Eufemio discusses Myanmar’s relationship with ASEAN and the potential for ASEAN to boost Myanmar’s nonproliferation efforts. She argues that ASEAN and its member countries should be working harder to engage Myanmar on this task and could better incorporate the country in the international community.
Andray Abrahamian and Nikita Desai discuss the problem of closer relations between Myanmar and the DPRK. They suggest two areas of focus for the US to reduce this concern. First, tackle Myanmar’s drug trade and long standing narcotics industry. Second, monitor Myanmar’s democratization process and human rights concerns. They conclude by questioning US leverage to entice Myanmar away from the DPRK.
Brian Moore investigates ways Myanmar can curb illicit financial flows. He explains that the government of Myanmar is working to abide by domestic, regional, and global trade control regimes to support nonproliferation efforts. Despite these efforts, implementation remains a critical challenge, and Myanmar’s financial system continues to be highly vulnerable to abuse by illicit actors. He argues that through coordination with the US, Myanmar can bolster its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing efforts.
Finally, Hyuk Kim takes an in-depth look at the Rohingya issue, explaining that this human rights issue is more complicated than simply granting citizenship. He recognizes that Aung San Suu Kyi cannot take action without the support of the general population and suggests several steps to alleviate this issue. Myanmar can facilitate dialogues to encourage diversity and understanding, and international support could be given in the form of humanitarian aid after consultation with the government to avoid aggravating the situation.