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LinkAsia News Brief

Suu Kyi's Hopes

(LinkAsia News - November 4, 2011) YUL KWON, LinkAsia host: After decades of house arrest, Myanmar's pro-democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi, says she senses a change in attitude in the country's year- old government. Lately, it's been more willing to engage with the opposition movement that she leads. Japanese broadcaster NHK World has this exclusive interview with the Nobel Peace Prize Winner.


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NHK World NEWSLINE Transcript
10/28/11 - 9PM Broadcast



AUNG SAN SUU KYI:  I think the president is very desirous of positive change.


REPORTER:  Myanmar held its first general election in 20 years last year. However, Aung San Suu Kyi was effectively barred from participating in the ballot. More than 80% of the rule-makers elected turn out to be supporters of the former military government.


The military maintains a strong influence over the country. However, in August, President Thein Sein held his first meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi in an upfront effort to improve ties with the pro-democracy movement.


SUU KYI:  The force to its changes... I think we've got to make it strong. This is our responsibility; this is our duty to try to make it as strong as possible. We prefer to emphasize what is positive, and to help the process along. We also are cautious about saying that change has taken place.

REPORTER:  Then, earlier this month, the government granted amnesty to more than 6,300 prisoners, including political detainees, who were accused of criticizing the former military regime.

The United States has suggested that it might review its economic sanctions on Myanmar, if the government allows more political participation by opposition parties and moves closer towards democracy. Even Aung San Suu Kyi says she would be willing to take part in the party's political framework, if the government asks her, but only with one condition.

SUU KYI:  Such matters are very much things that have to be decided with the rest of the party. It's not something that I decide for myself. I think you have to be committed to the process of dialogue, and even sometimes when it is perhaps not everything that you might wish for, you still have to continue and try to make it more meaningful and more substantial.

REPORTER:  Aung San Suu Kyi says she sees the change in the government's attitude as the golden opportunity to advance democracy in the country. Jun Kobayashi, NHK World, Yang Gong.


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