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Hanthawaddy Airport to be Implemented as a National Project

The Government has vowed to implement the planned Hanthawaddy International Airport as a national project in the tenure of current government. Vice President Henry Van Thio delivered the promise at a meeting of the steering committee on the airport construction held on December 21. Hanthawaddy International Airport will become a major gateway for international airlines to use and operate their businesses when it is completed, Vice President told the meeting which he took the chair. When it is available, all international airlines will be moved there from the current Yangon International Airport. The airport is expected to be in operation by 2020. The airport will be Myanmar’s fourth international airport and the largest of its kind. The country currently has three international airports in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw.

Minister for Ministry of the State Counselor’s Office Meets with Chinese Foreign Minister

Minister for Ministry of the State Counselor’s Office Kyaw Tint Swe met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on December 24 on the sidelines of the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) forum. In the meeting, Wang Yi said China appreciates the current Myanmar government’s attitude to cherish the traditional friendship with China and its pursuit of a China-friendly policy. The Chinese FM made a pledge to boost multi-sector cooperation between the two countries in line with Myanmar’s development needs, adding that China is willing to play a positive role in Myanmar’s peace process. Kyaw Tint Swe said Myanmar is willing to further enhance the ties with its big neighbour and promote substantial cooperation to benefit Myanmar people more, citing that China was the first non-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) country visited by State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, and Wang was the first visiting foreign minister the Myanmar government has welcomed after the ruling party NLD came to power.

Dutchman Sentenced for Cultural Violations Deported Back

The Dutchman who was famously convicted of interfering with a religious event has been deported back to his native country by Myanmar immigration officials, after he spent three months in prison for his offence. Klaas Haytema from the Netherlands was charged with violation of the country’s visa rules and regulations which require cultural respect in the wake of his misdemeanour at a community hall for Buddhist religious purposes in Mandalay. The Dutch visitor, who made a trespass into the hall and unplugged an amplifier transmitting Buddhist sermons, was released and deported on December 22 after serving his sentence.

Ceasefire Monitoring Committee Demands Solutions to Challenges

The Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) for the national ceasefire agreement has called for seeking ways to overcome challenges in the peace process and future plans as the calendar comes into the new year. The call came on the second day of the JMC’s plenary meeting held at the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC) on December 22. The meeting was attended by representatives from the government and the signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA). The Myanmar government is also making arrangements to hold national-level political dialogues with ethnic armed groups soon. The regional dialogues are scheduled to be launched first in Kayin State, Tanintharyi Region and Naypyidaw Union Territory which are believed to be ready to host the talks.

Over 32,000 People in Rakhine State Given National Verification Identity Cards

More than 30,000 people in Rakhine state were issued formal national verification identity cards after scrutiny, according to a news release from Myanmar’s State Counselor Office on December 27. A total of 32,016 people out of 469,183 in Rakhine, who relinquished their temporary certificates, were issued formal national verification identity cards following a scrutinising process, the Information Committee of the State Counselor Office said. Those who still hold the already expired the temporary certification issued under the 1982 Myanmar Citizen Law, were notified to surrender them to be given the verification cards if they are entitled to become a citizem. There are a total of 759,672 temporary certificate holders in Rakhine, according to the statement.