Pompeo should spare his concern on Myanmar election

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By Li Qingqing Source: Global Times

Voters queue to cast ballots at a polling station in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov. 8, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

On Monday, Myanmar’s ruling party National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, claimed a landslide victory in Sunday’s general election.

The result shows that Myanmar wishes for stability and development. It is unwilling to be dragged into geopolitical disputes between major powers. Myanmar follows the diplomatic principle of independence and neutrality.

“Myanmar is a developing country, and its main task is to focus on development instead of being involved in geopolitical battles,” Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Suu Kyi was once regarded as a democratic icon by the West. Western countries once believed that Myanmar, under Suu Kyi’s leadership, would follow the anti-China path and join the Western camp. But that is clearly against the national interests of Myanmar. And after the Rohingya crisis, Suu Kyi started to lose favor among Western countries. The West even revoked the honor they once gave to her.

The West has a lot of criticism toward Myanmar’s election. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said the US has concerns about Myanmar elections, and will continue to “closely monitor the electoral process.” The US-led Western world has adopted a repressive attitude toward countries with different mind-sets.

But this is futile. Myanmar society has a more rational and clearer understanding of the West and its own position. In the face of the pressing domestic development issues and ethnic conflicts, Suu Kyi has adopted a pragmatic attitude, instead of following the West’s suit or trying to keep the title of “democratic icon” that Western elites once gave her.

Since the NLD came into power, it has been committed to investing in Myanmar’s infrastructure, promoting national reconciliation and striving to make economic growth and social progress the main driving force for the country’s future development. Suu Kyi has promoted the adjustment of Myanmar’s foreign policy and deepened the country’s ties with neighboring countries and other ASEAN members. Myanmar and China also enjoy reciprocal cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative. These all reflect the Suu Kyi administration’s being responsible to the people and the country.

Myanmar is gradually opening up to the world, and the country is undergoing an important reform. This being the case, it is impossible for Myanmar to entrust its future to the hands of Western politicians, or to put itself in the whirlpool of geopolitics. “It is foreseeable that in her future administration, Suu Kyi will still attach importance to Myanmar’s own development and cooperate with major powers, instead of becoming a pawn in major power competition,” Xu said.

The future of Myanmar lies in the hands of its people. After all, an election is a way to choose a path that best suits their country, and people of Myanmar have made their choice. The US and other Western countries should not be too narcissistic about their ability to dictate other country’s choices.

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