Myanmar’s Thaung Tun: Naypyitaw making headway on peace, China ties, Rohingya

Myanmar has made significant progress on peace negotiations with ethnic armed groups, broadening diplomatic ties and addressing the problems of the Rohingya Muslim minority, Thaung Tun, the country’s national security adviser, said in an interview.

Myanmar's National Security Adviser Thaung Tun speaks to Nikkei reporters in Tokyo on June

Highlighting Myanmar’s strategic position between China and India, he noted the country’s increasingly active engagement, particularly with Beijing, which played a crucial role in persuading key ethnic groups to join the latest peace talks in Naypyitaw in May. “Myanmar has always had cooperation with China, and we are now working closely together,” he said, citing the recent launch of an oil pipeline from Myanmar’s west coast to Yunnan in southern China.

On international criticism of Myanmar’s brutal treatment of its mainly stateless Rohingya population, he denied charges by the United Nations Human Rights Council of systematic abuses and possible “crimes against humanity” by security forces, echoing the government’s recent rejection of a U.N.-backed fact-finding mission to investigate alleged abuses.

“There is no policy of systematic abuse, there is no ethnic cleansing nor genocide,” he said. “We say, present us with evidence and we will investigate.”