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Myanmar's Foreign Policy under the USDP Government: Continuities and Changes

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Myoe, Maung Aung

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Abstract Myanmar’s foreign policy under the USDP government is historically consistent in terms of fundamental principles of being independent, active, and non-aligned, as promulgated in the Constitution. However, the USDP government has pronounced a new foreign policy objective of reintegrating Myanmar into the international community. This objective is not in conflict with the existing ones nor does it seek to replace them, but rather endeavours to supplement them to make Myanmar’s foreign relations more active, dynamic, and international. This is by no means a major change in foreign policy orientation. It is merely an adjustment within the context of the fundamental principles of Myanmar’s foreign policy to cultivate friendly and balanced relations with all major powers active in the Indo-Pacific region. The change is mostly in terms of how the foreign policy is implemented and diplomacy is conducted. Since it came to power in 2011, the USDP government has pursued a foreign policy strategy that delicately balances the strategic interests of major powers in the country, that primarily maintains friendly relations with countries both near and far, and that applies multilateralism with an emphasis on regional cooperation or regional institutions. The foreign policy adjustment under the USDP government is leadership-driven, and it appears that the president is a prime mover and the Tatmadaw is a lead institution. (author's abstract)
Keywords Myanmar; foreign policy; policy implementation; bilateral relations; diplomacy; international relations; international politics; government policy; government; political development; historical development; political reform; political strategy
Classification International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 123-150
Journal Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 35 (2016) 1
ISSN 1868-4882
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs