President Thein Sein said that Burma has left behind its authoritarian government and must now revive a democratic culture, in a talk at the Asia Society headquarters in New York on Thursday.
“In order for Myanmar to become a viable democracy, we will have to revive the democratic culture,” said Thein Sein, a former general who served as prime minister in the previous military government.
“We will have to try to meet the democratic standard that has been set internationally. We will have to accept diversity, and then we will also have to try to establish a harmonious society,” he said.
Thein Sein and representatives from his cabinet fielded questions on a range of issues. When asked about his government’s response to ethnic unrest in Burma, he said cease-fires have been attained in 10 of 11 clashes with ethnic minorities.
“We plan to achieve sustainable peace,” Thein Sein said. “As you all know, the situation in the north is not very stable, the fighting with the Kachin independence army is still going on.”
“The problem is that there are some differences that need to be sorted out. From the government side, we have ordered our troops to stop fighting against Kachin troops. But our Kachin colleagues have not reciprocated in a similar way, so we will have to find a way to reconcile our differences,” he said.