Philippines offers to help Burma transition to democracyBy Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
President Benigno Aquino on Thursday told visiting Burmese Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin that the Philippines supports the reforms being undertaken by Yangon and offered the government’s help in its transition to democracy.
The minister, who was welcomed by the President in Malacañang, arrived in Manila for the second meeting of the Philippines-Burma Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation.
Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang said the two leaders discussed the democratic reforms being undertaken in Burma.
Carandang told reporters that the President related the Philippines’ own transition to democracy and said Filipinos are ready to share their experience with Burma.
Carandang said that the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) issue was discussed in passing during the meeting.
“The President said that a resolution of the territorial issue would enhance stability in the entire region,” he said.
Carandang said the President did not ask Burma’s support on Manila’s ongoing dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea. Both Manila and Beijing have overlapping territorial claims over all the islands in the region.
Both countries are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Prior to the meeting of the two leaders, deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said President Aquino was expected to congratulate the foreign minister “on the significant steps toward reform and democratization that have been achieved in Burma.”