IRC – Recent Progress

About IRC: Recent Progress In IRC’s Work In CLMV Countries

Since the middle and late 1990s IRC developed a great deal of efforts in studying the political and economic transitions in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar. IRC had “engaged” Myanmar since 1994 when it first proposed a project called “Interaction For Progress: Myanmar and ASEAN”.

This project was a continuation of the project IRC had initiated in Vietnam in 1990. The first conference, held in August 1991 in Hanoi with the participation of decision-makers from Vietnam and ASEAN, produced a decisive impact on the new thinking of the party leadership. At the request of the Vietnamese leadership the symposium series was institutionalized as an annual event. Three further meetings were held in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Manila , and an ASEAN-Vietnam Study Group was organized as part of the series, which culminated in 1994. The Vietnamese indeed recognized that this ASEAN-Vietnam engagement did contribute to the formulation of Vietnam’s policy towards ASEAN. The results of this series are available now. In 2012 the Asian Dialogue Society published this unique experience in a book titled “ONE SOUTHEAST ASIA: SHARED DESTINY, SHARED FUTURE.

The critical issue today for these countries and Myanmar in particular is how to develop, modernize and liberalize the country’s economic and political system and to make them relevant and responsive without producing the kind of upheaval that were witnessed in the former socialist regimes of Eastern and Central Europe or to neighboring countries such as Indonesia. Myanmar since its opening in 2011, for instance, can very well be a new test case for a new approach for peaceful reconstruction and transition against the experiences of China and Vietnam on one hand and the more painful experiences of Indonesia on the other.

At a time when the trends for dialogue and reconciliation remain strong there is an urgent need to promote and support these cooperative trends of interaction between and among domestic forces on one hand, and between Myanmar and Europe and the USA on the other hand. The primary objective is to contribute to ASEAN’s integration and in particular, Myanmar ‘s reintegration into its natural global environment.

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