Bangkok protests ‘cannot hurt Myanmar tourism’—Ye Htut

BAGAN—Despite recent concerns about a possible decline in Thai tourist arrivals, anti-government protests taking place in Bangkok cannot hurt Myanmar’s tourism industry, the president’s spokesperson said today.

Ye Htut, who is also the deputy minister for information, told Eleven Media on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that the recent Bangkok shutdown would have minimal impact on the country’s tourism sector.

“As far as I know, since the anti-government protests in Bangkok took place far away from the Suvarnabhumi Airport, I hope that Myanmar’s tourism industry will not suffer much,” he said in response to Eleven Media’s question.

“It is really hard to instantly estimate the effects of the Bangkok shutdown on Myanmar’s tourism industry, because we need to see the upcoming statistics on the industry, which will be published in the coming weeks.”

The president’s aide added that the Myanmar government, through its embassy in Bangkok, has already warned its citizens who are staying in Thailand to be cautious about the political situation in the kingdom.

“We are trying to protect all Myanmar nationals who are staying in different countries for various reasons,” Ye Htut said.

He also emphasized that the government would protect Myanmar migrant workers in other countries who encounter problems—whether or not they have a proper licence to work there.

“We are now drawing up an exact framework for migrant workers across the region. Whether or not such a framework is ready for release, we will make a priority of protecting Myanmar workers in other countries. We will discuss such issues in this meeting or at other ASEAN meetings,” he said.

Concerning the political tensions happening in some ASEAN countries, Ye Htut affirmed that Myanmar as ASEAN chair would not interfere with the internal affairs of other member countries, following the principles of the association.

“We will not try to interfere with the recent events in Cambodia and Thailand. But we wish that these countries can consider all these issues through means of peaceful dialogues among themselves,” he said.

Concerning the China Power Investment Corporation’s attempt to restart the controversial Myitsone dam project, Ye Htut admitted that he does not know how the Union Assembly will respond to MP Khin Maung Yi’s opinion in a recent interview.

“In making a decision, there are two kinds: binding resolution and non-binding resolution. We must take all the facts into serious consideration before making a decision,” he said.

When asked about the preparations for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which will be launched in 2015, he answered, “At the moment, we cannot say that we are 100 percent complete. I can say that not only Myanmar but also other developing countries within the ASEAN region will try their best to get ready for the AEC by the end of this year.”

The ASEAN Ministerial Meeting retreat is being held in Bagan from Wednesday through Saturday. But all meetings and sideline sessions have been scheduled to take place today and tomorrow only.

Source: ELEVEN Myanmar

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