Press Statement on the official visit of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the Czech Republic and the Republic of Hungary
Press Statement on the official visit of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the Czech Republic and the Republic of Hungary Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ Nay Pyi Taw / June 08, 2019
1. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar paid an official visit to the Czech Republic from 1 to 4 June 2019 at the invitation of Czech Prime Minister Mr. Andrej Babiš and a working visit to the Republic of Hungary from 4 to 7 June 2019.
Meeting with Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
2. In the morning of 3 June 2019, the State Counsellor attended the welcoming ceremony at the Czech Prime Minister’s Office and held a bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Andrej Babis, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. At the meeting, the two leaders discussed matters on further consolidating the traditional ties of friendly relations and cooperation, promoting trade, investment and economic cooperation between the two countries. They also discussed enhancing people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, exploring possibilities for linking direct flights between Myanmar and the Czech Republic, promoting cooperation on tourism, education, culture and healthcare, and exchange of high-level visits between the two countries. The State Counsellor extended an invitation to the Czech Prime Minister to pay a visit to Myanmar which was accepted by the latter with pleasure.
3. Following the bilateral meeting, State Counsellor and the Prime Minister held the joint press briefing. Prime Minister hosted a luncheon to the State Counsellor and Myanmar delegation at the Hrzansky Palace in Prague.
Meeting with President of the Czech Republic
4. In the afternoon on 4 June 2019, the State Counsellor called on H.E. Mr. Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic at the President’s Office. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed matters pertaining to promoting bilateral relations and cooperation and economic and political developments in Myanmar and Czech Republic. They also exchanged views on current regional and international situations and the Myanmar Government’s efforts to achieve peace, stability and national reconciliation in Rakhine State.
Dinner hosted by Vice-President of the Senate
5. In the evening on 3 June 2019, the State Counsellor attended the dinner hosted by H.E. Mr. Jan Hornik, Vice-President of the Senate and exchanged views with the latter on promoting bilateral relations and closer engagements between the two Parliaments.
Working Breakfast hosted by the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs
6. In the morning on 4 June 2019, the State Counsellor attended the working breakfast hosted by Mr. Tomáš Petříček, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic at the latter’s office. They exchanged views on issues pertaining to strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation, promoting trade and investments, increasing engagements through the existing cooperative mechanisms, and sharing experiences in addressing the challenges faced by the two countries during their democratic transition.
Luncheon hosted by the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies
7. In the afternoon on 4 June 2019, the State Counsellor attended the luncheon hosted by Mr. Radek Vondracek, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament.
Paying respect to the former President of the Czech Republic
8. In the morning on 3 June 2019, the State Counsellor visited the grave of the late Mr. Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic and laid a flower wreath.
Giving a lecture at the Charles University
9. In the afternoon on 3 June 2019, the State Counsellor gave a lecture at the Charles University in Prague on the theme “Challenges of Transition”. In her speech, the State Counsellor gave a brief historic account of the Myanmar’s struggle for democracy, nation building tasks and challenges faced in the process of its transition, comparing to the Velvet Revolution of the then Czechoslovakia, which was accomplished without abrasives or wounding.
10. The State Counsellor also explained about the situation in Rakhine State, which is another legacy of the past for which the NLD government assumed responsibility after taking office. She stated that the communal conflicts between the two communities in 2012 in Rakhine State, one of the least developed parts of the country, drew the attention of the world. To resolve the basic causes of the troubles, the Central Committee for Rule of Law and Development in Rakhine State was formed, and the late Dr. Kofi Annan was also requested to lead a commission to advise on how to best address the issues that were undermining peace and harmony in the region. The attacks of ARSA terrorists on several police outposts in October 2016 and the subsequent military retaliations unleashed a series of events that turned Rakhine into almost the only part of Myanmar that seemed to hold interest for the international community.
11. She also pointed out that political democratization, peace negotiations and Rakhine issue are the parts of Myanmar’s transition that captures world attention and makes the headlines. But, few seemed interested in what Myanmar people wanted from the transition, their hopes, as they waited stoically for more than half a century to express the longing in their hearts. Clean water, all-weathered roads, electricity, better education facilities and better health care are the major needs of the people. These basic needs are too simple to attract the interest of the world, but of paramount importance to Myanmar people. She gave her assessment of Myanmar’s transition over the past three year in terms of progress in fulfilling those essential needs and hopes of the people of Myanmar.
12. After the lecture, the State Cousellor was conferred “Historical Medal of Charles University” by the Rector. The Historical Medal of Charles University is conferred to the people who have achievements in academic and science, or who have promoted the bilateral relations with the Czech Republic.
Attending the Czech-Myanmar Business Forum
13. In the morning of 4 June 2019, the State Counsellor attended the Czech-Myanmar Business Forum held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and delivered the opening speech. The opening speeches were delivered by Prime Minister Mr. Andrej Babiš, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Mr. Karel Havlíček, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Tomáš Petříček, and U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations. The Forum was attended by Chairman of UMFCCI U Zaw Min Win and Myanmar entrepreneurs, Mr. Jaroslav Hanak, President of the Czech Confederation of Industry and Czech entrepreneurs.
14.In her keynote address, the State Counsellor expressed that throughout the 1960s, Myanmar was one of the Czech Republic’s largest trading partners in Southeast Asia and remains as an important partner to this day. The two-way trade volume reached USD 24 million and there are still ample potentials for growth. The re-opening of Myanmar Embassy in Prague will help promote further cooperation between the two countries. Myanmar sits at a strategic geographic and market crossroad – between China, India and ASEAN. Myanmar has a sizeable and expanding internal market with a population of 54 million which will surely benefit from greater cooperation and integration with external markets. Myanmar’s growth for 2020 is estimated to reach 6.8% – one of the highest growth rates, in the Southeast Asia, the world’s fastest growing and dynamic region. The government has reduced the size of the budget deficit and inflation, trade grow by 20% in every year. Digital financial services are growing by 30% per month in Myanmar and smart phone penetration rates are amongst the highest in the world. Myanmar Special Economic Zones, including Thilawa, hold significant potentials to attract new foreign direct investment. The SEZ offers special incentives for investors, including income tax exemption for seven years. In light of these incentives, Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan recently announced that it is planning to build an automobile factory in Myanmar. The decision of Toyota reflects the growing confidence of investors. The newly launched Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan will lower the poverty rate in the country. Although many challenges remain, the progress achieved since the reform process commenced in 2011, is nothing short of remarkable. Trade, investment, cooperation on development and people-to-people connectivity between Myanmar and Czech Republic are fundamental elements of the existing strong friendship.
Reopening of Myanmar Embassy in Prague
15. Afterwards, the State Counsellor attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the official opening of Myanmar Embassy in Prague. The ceremony was attended by Mr. Tomáš Petříček, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, ambassadors and heads of missions of ASEAN member countries and Myanmar community. The State Counsellor and Mr. Tomáš Petříček cut the ribbons and the State Counsellor delivered the speech at the ceremony. The reopening of the Czech Embassy in Yangon in 2014 and reopening of Myanmar Embassy in Prague during the State Counsellor’s visit to the Czech Republic marked yet another milestone to further consolidate the relations and cooperation stronger than ever.
Opening ceremony of the photo exhibition
16. In the afternoon on 4 June 2019, the State Counsellor attended the opening ceremony of the photo exhibition “The Beauty of Myanmar” at the Naprstek Museum. The Exhibition was aimed at achieving more understanding and awareness of Myanmar’s traditions and culture of the ethnic nationalities, and scenic sites and tourist attractions by the Czech people. The exhibition will be on display from 4 June 2019 to 16 August 2019.
17. After attending the Exhibition, the State Counsellor and Myanmar delegation left Prague to Budapest, Hungary by air.
Meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister
18. In the morning of 5 June 2019, the State Counsellor met with H.E. Mr. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary at the Prime Minister’s Office. The two leaders exchanged views on matters pertaining to promotion of bilateral relations, cooperation in the areas of trade, investment and economy, democratic transitions in Myanmar and in Hungary, current regional and international situations, Myanmar Government’s efforts to achieve peace, stability and development in Rakhine State. They also discussed possibilities of opening the embassies by the two countries in the respective capitals.
Meeting with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
19. After meeting with the Prime Minister, the State Counsellor held talks with H.E. Mr. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the meeting, they discussed to accelerate the cooperation process between Myanmar and Hungary to promote bilateral relations, to provide Tied Aid Credit loans from Hungary to contribute the development projects of Myanmar, to enhancing relations in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture, water management, culture and promoting people to people exchanges, forging closer cooperation in the contexts of ASEAN framework and the international arena, providing more scholarship programmes to Myanmar students for human resource development, to work together in strengthening bilateral relations and promoting trade and investment between Myanmar and the EU. They also exchanged views on the challenges faced by Myanmar in its democratic transition. The Myanmar side thanked Hungary for the understanding and constructive support extended by Hungary to Myanmar Government’s efforts in Rakhine State and national reconciliation. After the meeting, the State Counsellor attended the working lunch hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Lecture at the National University of Public Service
20. On 6 June 2019, the State Counsellor gave a lecture at the National University of Public Service giving a brief overview of Myanmar’s democratic transition, efforts towards peace and national reconciliation, endeavours to achieve stability and development in Rakhine State, education reforms, bilateral cooperation between Myanmar and Hungary on education, and promoting people-to-people engagements between the two countries, and responded to the questions raised by the participants.
Meeting with the First Officer of the National Assembly
21. In the afternoon, the State Counsellor met with Mrs. Marta Matrai, First Officer of the National Assembly of Hungary. At the meeting, they cordially exchanged views on shared experiences of democratic transition in Myanmar and in Hungary, and discussed to promote cooperation between the two parliaments and capacity building of the legislatures.
Luncheon hosted by Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament
22. After the meeting, the State Counsellor attended the luncheon hosted by Mr. Zsolt Nemeth, Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Hungarian Parliament and exchanged views on the democratic transition in Myanmar and its achievements.
Attending the Hungary-Myanmar Business Forum
23. In the afternoon on 6 June 2019, the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attended the Hungary-Myanmar Business Forum and delivered an opening remark. The Forum was attended by Myanmar and Hungarian entrepreneurs, and Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations U Thaung Tun gave a presentation on the investment opportunities in Myanmar.
Meeting with Myanmar Embassy’s Staffs and Scholars in Hungary
24. During the visit, the State Counsellor met with Myanmar Embassy’s Staff led by U Myo Aye, Ambassador of Myanmar to Hungary and Myanmar Scholars studying in Hungary.
25. The State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar delegation arrived back Nay Pyi Taw in the morning of 8 June 2019. The State Counsellor was accompanied by Union Ministers U Thaung Tun, U Kyaw Tin and senior officials during the visit to the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nay Pyi Taw.
Dated: 8 June 2019