Monday, 15 June 2009 22:15
New Delhi (Mizzima) – Veteran journalist Win Tin said on Monday Burma’s military rulers are going the whole hog to garner diplomatic support from regional countries in the face of growing international condemnation over the trial of Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Win Tin, who is also a central executive committee member of the Aung San Suu Kyi led National League for Democracy said, the visit of Sri Lankan President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Singapore’s Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong are all part of the junta’s effort to cosy up to regional countries.
“Clearly, the junta is in a tight spot as the international community has reacted more sharply than it had anticipated. And since it might be difficult for the regime to try and influence the West, they at least want the support of regional countries,” Win Tin added.
On Sunday, the junta’s mouthpiece newspaper reported the visit of Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa to Burma. Rajapaksa was received in Naypyitaw by the Burmese Army Chief Snr. Gen Than Shwe — a rare gesture by the junta supremo.
Similarly, Singapore’s former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on a four-day visit to Burma last week had meetings with Than Shwe and other junta brass.
Win Tin said, such visits are indications that the junta is seeking support from regional countries. He said the junta had not anticipated that there would be such a loud outcry from the international community by putting on trial Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “It [junta] seems to have miscalculated on the strong support for Aung San Suu Kyi by the international community,” Win Tin said.
The junta wants to gauge China’s reaction over the mounting pressure and is likely to go ahead and sentence the Burmese Nobel Peace Laureate, if China gives the green signal, he said.
According to Win Tin, the junta is determined to sentence Aung San Suu Kyi to a prison term and put her away before their proposed 2010 general elections. But it had not anticipated such an outburst from the international community.
Sources said Thura Shwe Mann, the third leader in the Burmese military hierarchy, last week visited China without making any official announcement. On Monday, the Chinese News Agency Xinhua reported that Vice-Senior General Maung Aye, number two in the military hierarchy, is visiting China.
Observers believe these visits are aimed at explaining and trying to convince China about the junta’s stand regarding the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and the regime’s plans ahead.
Win Tin said, “Whatever the circumstances, the junta is likely go ahead with its plan if China approves.”