A wide-ranging Interview with Mr. Lyying SAYAXANG, Ambassador of Laos to Myanmar by the Global New Light of Myanmar and MRTV touched upon democratic and economic reform, peace process and bilateral relations between Laos and Myanmar.
Q. What is your impression for the democratization process in Myanmar?
A. I have been accredited as Lao Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for over 2 years. I found that there are numerous things materialized in Myanmar democratization process, namely general election in November 2015 to form new administrative cabinets, by-election in April 2017, ceasefire negotiation process with the armed ethnic groups and holding the Union Peace Conference-21st Century Panglong 2nd Session to achieve peace, national reconciliation as well as federal democratic union. With all these efforts, I strongly believe that under the leadership of the Myanmar leaders will be able lead the country to tangible success in the terms of peace, national reconciliation and prosperity in the future.
Q. How about your ideas about the peace process in Myanmar and transition from war to peace?
A. Peace is desired for all humankind in this world and only peaceful state will lead to prosperous development of the country. Thus, Myanmar peace process that government and the people are currently seeking for is Myanmar’s positive activity. From the past up to now, Myanmar has not had war, only conflict between armed ethnic groups and government’s army in some states. The government has potentials to handle by improving socio-economic development and upgrading well-being to the people at large. At the same time, establishing mutual understanding is needed among ethnic groups and the people in order to let them see which one is general or specific. I am confident that when the people obtain universal development and livelihood restoration, several conflicts will be disappeared and peace will be restored.
Q. Could you please tell me about plans for strengthening bilateral friendship between Laos and Myanmar?
A. The bond between Laos and Myanmar is considered as long historic milestone, friendly relations as well as neighbouring countries which share long border. The relations between our two countries has ever been rested on mutual trust and understanding.
Recently, the diplomatic relations and cooperation between Laos and Myanmar has been witnessed over 60 years mainly in political and defence sectors are obviously seen. Especially, our cooperation on monitoring and inspecting peace along the border. In the near future, our two countries will have to tackle with drugs and human trafficking issues, particularly in golden triangle areas. Commodity exchange and trade along the border for our people also need further development. Besides that, we are accountable for implementing Lao-Myanmar economic integration in accordance with the pillar of ASEAN Economic Community in order to bring benefits for our people of two countries.
Q. What are the major challenges for investors in making investment in Myanmar and border trade?
A. It is to say that, since the previous government, Myanmar has broaden its investment for foreign investors enormously. Meanwhile, Myanmar economic development grows fast but not widespread, in particular in remote areas, fighting between Tadmadaw and armed ethnic groups still exist, these challenges pose uncertainty in investments. I have learnt that Myanmar is a country with huge plain areas, rich in diverse natural resources and labour force. If internal peace is resolved, more and more investment would be definitely realized and Myanmar will be quickly developed.
Q. Any challenges for bilateral issues such as trans-border crimes, human trafficking, drug trafficking, etc.?
A. Laos and Myanmar shares border of 236 kilometres which is not so long when compare to other neighbouring countries. Over the years, our two countries have maintained good relations and cooperation along the border that constitute friendly and peaceful border. But we still face some challenges, particularly in upland and remote uphill border areas of our two countries have provided conductive environment for drugs trafficking, specifically in golden triangle areas. I think our joint border commission needs to be improved to pursue its border activities more effectively. In addition, developing and ruling our own people, those who are living along the border to cooperate with the government for anti-drug trafficking, anti-drug producing, anti-human trafficking as well Lao Friendship Bridge for commodity exchange and visit one another side are also required in accordance with international regulations.