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Myanmar Took Part in the Future of Asia Forum

Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe participated in the Future of Asia Conference held in Japan on June 12.

This year’s event ran with the theme of “Keeping Asia Open- How to Achieve Prosperity and Stability’. Kyaw Tint Swe delivered a speech in accordance with the theme on the second day of the forum.

The union minister in his speech said that Myanmar as a newly democratic country has been actively involved in the peace and national reconciliation process as a first priority. The country’s economy has gradually increased in the East Asia and Pacific region with the current growth rate of 6.7 per cent is expected to reach 7 per cent in 2018, according to Kyaw Tint Swe. The future of Asia lies on investing in peace, multilateral system and in protecting the rules-based multilateral trading system, he continued. The Union Minister also responded to the questions raised by the moderator related to aspects of China’s ambitious

Belt and Road Initiative, the peace proctess of Myanmar, its cooperation with neighbouring countries, ways of :maintenance of the small and mediumsized Enterprises (SMEs) in the country to offset the adverse effects of foreign direct investment (FDI).

Kyaw Tint Swe also held separate bilateral meetings with Ichiro Aisawa, Chairman of Japan’s Parliamentary Friendship Union and officials from Japanese parliament, and Hideo Watanabe, Chairman of Japan Myanmar Association and high-ranking government officials.

During the informal meetings, the two sides exchanged views on the perpetuation of Japan-Myanmar friendship, the on-going peace process of Myanmar, the country’s democratic transition and the latest developments in Rakhine state, cooperation between the two parliaments, development in other sectors such as economic, electricity and energy, sport, Official Development Assistance (ODA), and ways and means to raise the capability and efficiency of human resources.

Last year edition of the International Conference on the Future of Asia was held under the theme of “US and Asia: Leadership in a Time of Change” in Tokyo, Japan. The theme took that with the rise of nationalism and anti-globalization forces around the world, leadership will be critical in managing much-needed economic reforms, technological innovation, security challenges and shifts in popular taste and culture across Asia.

The Future of Asia conferences are organised by Los Angeles World Affairs Council. The 2016 edition took place in Santa Monica, California, the United States of America on September 15-16. Founded in 1953, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council is a non-partisan forum for foreign affairs.

The 2016 conference revealed a continent where economic pragmatism increasingly trumps political animosity, where Asian millennials are focused on the promise of future growth rather than historical grievance, where private entrepreneurs are making inroads into the state-dominated economy in China, where an inward-looking India is starting to engage with the outside world, where a formerly flailing Japan has found some stable political leadership… but where air quality and food safety are suspect, and inter-state rivalries require, more than ever, a stabilizing US presence.

The forum opened with 10 speakers talking for three minutes on their vision of Asia in 2030. The forum. Shivshankar Menon, former Indian National Security Adviser, said that by 2030

“Asia will surpass the combined economic and military might of North America and Europe – this is not that the US is declining, but that China and India are rising.” Liu Ming from the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences said that while China today is a significant regional power, by 2030 it will be a global power, “more open and self-confident.” Tatsuo Yamasaki from Mitsubishi Corporation warned of an intense competition for natural resources in the future in Asia, and Bloomberg View’s Mihir Sharma cautioned that the 500 million Indians under 25 will grow up to be angry and aggressive if India does not become as economically prosperous as they have been given to dream. But the upside for the growing middle class is already showing itself in the travel market – cruise ship passenger numbers are up by 39% in Asia, compared to 4% growth in the rest of the world, according to Jan Swartz of Princess Cruises. Martin Drew of Etihad said that in India, currently only 3% of the population travels overseas – a “mere” 40 million people, while in China just 4% of the population has passports – and Chinese tourists still spend more money around the world than any other nation.

57 speakers and 502 attendees engaged in broad-ranging conversations at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica about the future of the Asia-Pacific and its relations with the US, under the overarching theme of “Asia’s Emerging Middle Class” – predicted by the OECD to grow from 500 million in 2009 to 3 billion by 2030. Started in 2016, the Future of Asia conferences bring together influential voices from both sides of the Pacific to look at the opportunities and challenges in the world’s most rapidly growing continent.