NEWS | June 15, 2018

White House National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Travels to Myanmar

WASHINGTON -- Senior Director for Asian Affairs at the White House National Security Council, Matt Pottinger, is visiting Myanmar June 14-16 to meet with senior government leaders and civil society to discuss and strengthen the bilateral relationship.

Mr. Pottinger traveled to Myanmar from Singapore, where he supported President Trump’s meetings with Prime Minister Lee and with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. After Myanmar, Mr. Pottinger will travel to Thailand and Malaysia to strengthen U.S. relationships in the region.

For decades, U.S.-Myanmar relations have been based on U.S. support for peace, freedoms, and democratic reforms in Myanmar. The United States has always wanted to see a Myanmar that is peaceful, democratic, and increasingly prosperous. That’s good for Myanmar, and good for the United States.

The United States is concerned about the intensifying conflicts in the northeastern part of Myanmar, particularly Kachin and Shan States, the crisis in Rakhine State, and the production and flow of narcotics. These are huge challenges, and making progress is critical for Myanmar’s success overall. The Rakhine crisis in particular has created an enormous humanitarian crisis and poses challenges for the entire neighborhood. The United States has been critical at times, but remains committed as a friend to help Myanmar resolve the crisis in Rakhine State and the many challenges Myanmar faces.

U.S. policy towards Myanmar is part of broader U.S. policy in the region to support a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is vital for all to succeed and prosper. In a free and open Indo-Pacific, countries are free from coercion and are able to protect their sovereignty and territorial integrity; societies have good governance and respect for fundamental human rights and liberties, and all nations share a commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes. ASEAN’s role is vital. We seek to partner with all who respect national sovereignty, fair and reciprocal trade, and the rule of law.

U.S. assistance of approximately $120 million last year supported a peaceful, democratic, and increasingly prosperous Myanmar in the following ways:

Prosperity: We work directly with farmers, businesses, banks, and other institutions to help all people in Myanmar benefit from economic growth. We also work with the Ministry of Health and Sports and with local organizations to improve health systems – so that all people in Myanmar can enjoy better health. [Over $52 million in 2017.]

Democratic institutions: The United States helps Myanmar to build democratic institutions that serve and provide essential services to all people of Myanmar. [Over $40 million in 2017.]

Peace/reducing conflict: S. efforts build the skills of local leaders so they can contribute to peace and reduce conflict across Myanmar. [Over $20 million in 2017.]

Justice: The U.S. government provides assistance and technical training for law enforcement and justice institutions, to help them fight corruption, keep people safe, and allow everyone access to justice so they can fairly resolve disputes. [$3 million in 2017.]

Education: By training teachers, teaching English, sending educators to the U.S., and funding experts and Peace Corps Volunteers to come here, we support education sector development. [Over $2 million in 2017.]