Seminar: Myanmar Foreign Policy since 2011: Continuities and Changes




When the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) came to power in March 2011 and formed the government, one of the first activities was the official public announcement of its various policies, including a statement on Myanmar foreign policy. This seminar will examine continuities and changes in Myanmar foreign policy under the USDP government from a broader historical perspective. It raises the following questions: How do we explain and understand Myanmar foreign policy under the USDP government? Is there a continuality or change in Myanmar foreign policy and if so what are the factors that contribute to it? Who and which institutions are key driving forces behind Myanmar foreign policy at present?

This paper argues that the USDP government has adjusted its foreign policy without undermining the fundamental principles long practiced by successive governments in Myanmar. However, as it sets a foreign policy goal of reintegrating Myanmar within international community, the USDP government has pursued a foreign policy strategy based on multilateralism, with special attention to regional institutions and cooperative security, and reorientation of Myanmar’s foreign relations in the context of strategic competitions among great powers. While the foreign policy adjustment was driven by leadership, with the president as a prime mover, the military plays an influential and indispensable role in shaping and making it a reality and a success.


Dr Maung Aung Myoe is a Visiting Senior Fellow under the Myanmar Studies Programme at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.  He teaches at the International University of Japan (IUJ). He is also the Director of International Relations Program in the Graduate School of International Relations at IUJ. He earned his PhD in Political Science and International Relations from Australian National University. His research interests are civil-military relations, regional security in Southeast Asia, and the government and politics in Myanmar. He teaches Security and Strategy in International Relations, Foreign Policy Analysis and Southeast Asian International Relations.


To register, please complete this reply form and return it by fax: 6775-6264 or email: by 23 October 2015.



Oct 26 2015


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2