Southeast Asia Trilateral Forum
The inaugural Southeast Asia Trilateral Forum was convened in Yangon, Myanmar on February 25-26 by the German Marshall Fund and the Westerwelle Foundation. The forum brought together 60 senior diplomats, business executives, academics, and journalists from the United States and more than a dozen other nations across Europe and Southeast Asia to explore issues ranging from maritime security to entrepreneurship to political transitions. Opening remarks by the U.S. Ambassador to Burma and the German Ambassador to Myanmar, as well as discussions during all eight sessions, were held under the Chatham House rule. During the forum there was significant discussion about Myanmar’s current political transition and the economic prospects for its still underdeveloped economy. Participants discussed how the United States and Europe may be able to aid Myanmar’s development in terms of investment and capacity building. Some participants questioned the ongoing utility of punitive measures by international bodies against Myanmar. ASEAN was another topic that consumed considerable attention. Discussions explored similarities and differences between ASEAN and the EU as regional groupings, and ASEAN’s role in Asia and global affairs. For more information, please refer to the attached summary and program agenda. A Storify compilation of tweets from the forum can be found here. Future iterations of the forum are likely to take place in both Yangon and other Southeast Asian capitals, including Singapore.