Suu Kyi: My Thai trip didn't hurt Myanmar gov't

June 6, 2012 - 9:17 PM
Myanmar Suu Kyi

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi laughs as she talks to the media during a press conference at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy party in Yangon, Wednesday, June 6, 2012. A state-run newspaper called Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein "the hope of Myanmar" - rare praise for the opposition leader that was tempered with worry that possible tensions between the two reform-minded politicians could derail changes in the long-oppressed country. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Wednesday her activities on a recent trip to Thailand gave no cause for anyone to be unhappy, dismissing speculation her high-profile visit annoyed the government.

Suu Kyi's visits with Myanmar migrant workers and refugees and her appearance at the World Economic Forum in Bangkok garnered global attention because it was the former political prisoner's first trip outside Myanmar in 24 years.

Myanmar President Thein Sein had been scheduled for an official visit to Thailand at the same time and for the same conference, but postponed and then canceled his trip. Officials said he was busy at home, but it was speculated Thein Sein was irritated at being upstaged.

"I don't think that I did anything that could make anybody in Burma unhappy, because what I did was go to meet migrant workers and to meet those officials in Thailand who are responsible for the migrant workers' situation and we discussed matters of mutual benefit," Suu Kyi said Wednesday, using the old name for her country preferred by some political activists.

She said the same held true for her visit to a refugee camp near the Myanmar border where she had "very fruitful discussions," she said.

"I do not think that my activities there could in any way affect the situation of Burmese people adversely," said Suu Kyi at a news conference in Yangon.

Suu Kyi's cooperation with Thein Sein has been crucial in winning support at home and abroad for the president's reform program, which is opening up the country after decades of military rule. She has repeatedly said she believes in Thein Sein's sincerity in affecting social and political changes.

Suu Kyi had also spoken frankly at the World Economic Forum about potential difficulties for foreign investors in Myanmar at a time when the government is wooing such investors to help boost the economy.

"I had given my views very openly at the Forum and I heard that some were unhappy about that," she said. "I gave my frank opinion so that people can make a correct assessment of the country. "

Western nations earlier this year eased sanctions they had imposed on Myanmar under the country's previous repressive military regime, allowing previously banned investment. Thein Sein is backed by the military but came to power through elections and has instituted reforms that have won the endorsement of Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party.

Suu Kyi's trip to Thailand had appeared to be hastily arranged, and there were reports that Thai authorities were also upset about not being more closely consulted about her plans.

"I appreciate everything that the Thai government did to make my visit there a very happy one," Suu Kyi said Wednesday. "The authorities in Thailand were very, very cooperative. I have no complaint whatsoever to make about my time in Thailand."

Suu Kyi also talked about plans for her upcoming trip to Europe.

On June 13, she is scheduled to depart on a five-country tour that includes stops in Geneva, Oslo, Dublin, London and Paris. Among the highlights is her trip to Norway, where Suu Kyi will formally accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991. She is supposed to return home June 30.