For the first time ever, Myanmar State Adviser and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi is attending the foreign ministers’ meeting being convened in the Laotian capital of Vientiane as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conferences. Both Japan and China have invited Suu Kyi to visit their countries as soon as possible.
On the evening of July 24, she spoke separately with her Japanese and Chinese counterparts, taking a forward-looking perspective on the offers from the two countries. It is thought that detailed arrangements are already being made for her to visit China in August, making it appear that China is ahead in the “battle to attract Suu Kyi.”
Since the new Myanmar administration took office at the end of March 2016, Suu Kyi has visited Laos and Thailand. She has also accepted an invitation from U.S. President Barack Obama to travel to the United States. Arrangements for a U.S. visit are underway with an eye for her to participate in the United Nations General Assembly in September during the trip as well.
According to Myanmar foreign affairs sources, Suu Kyi was formally requested to visit China during her bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. According to local media, arrangements are being made for the senior leaders of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) to travel to China “during the third week in August,” before the visit to the United States.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida spoke with Suu Kyi for a few minutes while waiting to meet with his counterpart from Laos, which currently serves as chair of ASEAN. According to those familiar with Japanese foreign affairs, Kishida asked Suu Kyi to visit Japan at an early date, and Suu Kyi said she hopes to do so.