US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel on Friday said that Washington would closely observe the upcoming general elections in Myanmar and that the Southeast Asian nation can learn from Taiwan.
Asked about the elections in Myanmar, scheduled for November, and Taiwan’s presidential election in January, Russel said that regardless of whether an election is in Taiwan, Myanmar or any other nation, the US maintains the same stance of respecting a democratic process.
He said that while Taiwan has considerably more experience in democratic elections, Myanmar is “still inching forward.”
“Frankly, I think there is a lot that [Myanmar] can learn from Taiwan,” he said, adding that Taiwan might serve as inspiration for many young people in Myanmar.
Russel was speaking during a question-and-answer session at an event at the Washington-based think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to discuss the development of Myanmar.
He has just concluded a trip to Asia that took him to Myanmar, China and Mongolia.
During his visit to Myanmar, Russel met with senior Burmese government officials as well as pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, and raised concerns over democratic development in the nation.
Russel said Washington supports the nation’s economic growth, political development, independence and territorial integrity.
On the question of Myanmar’s ties with China and the US, he said that Myanmar’s good relations with the US do not come at the expense of its relations with China.
“Good relations between China and [Myanmar] are in everybody’s interests,” he added.
Myanmar is on Nov. 8 to hold its first general elections since a nominally civilian government was introduced in 2011, ending about 50 years of military rule.
It is expected that the opposition National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, is to win a considerable number of seats in both houses of parliament.
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