Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Deputy head of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) policy think tank, accompanied by several female politicians from the DPP, led a delegation to Myanmar to visit democratic movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday.
The delegation included Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳), DPP legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津), Taiwan Foundation for Democracy deputy head Yang Huang Maysing (楊黃美幸) and special assistant Chang Hsiang-hui (張祥慧).
Aung San Suu Kyi, the third child and only daughter of Aung San, who founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s (now known as Myanmar) independence from the UK in 1947, had been kept under house arrest off and on since 1988, when the National League for Democracy (NLD) gained 80 percent of parliamentary seats in a general election called by the military junta, who later refused to hand over power.
Hsiao said the DPP delegation had encountered difficulties before meeting Aung San Suu Kyi, as she was still under surveillance by the Burmese government.
During their one-hour meeting, they exchanged views and opinions on democratization in Myanmar, the economic sanctions imposed on Myanmar by the international community and the current international situation.
The DPP delegation also shared with the Nobel laureate the experiences of Taiwan’s democratization and the challenges it faced.
On the subject of challenges facing Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi said that aside from the challenge of politics, local society also faced challenges such as a lack of job opportunities and soaring inflation.
The current mission of the NLD is to help the people of Myanmar get education and assist disaster-stricken families, Aung San Suu Kyi said, adding that the NLD would also help with legal inquiries.
Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed the visit by the DPP delegation, saying she was thrilled to see the extraordinary performance of women in Taiwanese politics and she also extended her best wishes to DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
Hsiao said the spirit of Aung San Suu Kyi and the readiness of senior NLD members to sacrifice themselves for the -democratization of Myanmar was impressive.
The DPP would continue to fight for Taiwan’s democracy and liberty, and would share Taiwan’s experiences of democracy with other countries fighting for democracy, promoting democratic and humanitarian values worldwide, Hsiao said.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER