Q: Some people are saying that you are being used by President U Thein Sein’s government in your talks with U Thein Sein and [Labor Minister] U Aung Kyi. What would you like to tell those people who are saying such things?
A: I do not think that I am being used. I see this as a cooperative venture. Even if I am really being made use of, there is nothing bad about being used for the country. I will continue to work in accordance with my belief.
Q: With regard to your meeting with U Thein Sein, did U Thein Sein himself invite you to meet with him? Also, did you get approval from the NLD Executive Committee to meet with him? I would also like to know why you attended only the second day of a three-day workshop held at Naypyidaw, and then for only two hours?
A: Meeting the country’s president is not something that one can do without being invited. We have already issued a report saying that the National League for Democracy supports and is satisfied with the meeting. As to attending the workshop for only a short time, it was because I had to return to deal with some matters.
Q: Burma has a common border with China. China is a superpower, and therefore it has a huge influence on our country, and the way that China has turned Burma into an economic colony while Burma’s successive military governments have been in power is quite frightening. Just as we have heard reports that Burma’s government has allowed China’s military and navy to build bases on some of Burma’s islands, there have been reports that China is building military bases along the China-Burma border. And there are also reports that a gas pipeline is being built that will go from the Rakhine area into China. China’s military can come into Burma at any time to protect that pipeline. How can we protect our country from becoming an economic and military pawn of China?
A: The best way to protect ourselves from external threats and dangers is to have unity among ourselves. If the people trust and respect the government, and the government in turn respects and has a high regard for the people—with that kind of mutual trust, with everyone carrying out their duties in a responsible manner, we will be able to protect ourselves from any kind of external threats and dangers. With regard to our relations with our big neighboring countries, how good those external relations will be will depend on how good the situation is inside our own country.
Q: After the “Four 8’s” revolution, I fled from the country and have been active in the opposition movement abroad. I took part in the “Rambo IV” movie and also portrayed Captain Myint Oo, who gave orders to shoot you at Danubyu, in the movie “The Lady.” Now, President U Thein Sein is allowing people who left Burma for any reason after 1988 to return to our county. We want to go back to our country and to work as best as we can for its betterment. How will we be able to get involved in Burma’s political process when we return, and what kind of work will we be able to do?
A: I have heard that detailed information with regard to Burmese people returning from abroad will be released soon. It would be best for you to make arrangements based on that information. From my point of view, there will always be opportunities in a country like Burma for anybody who really wants to work in the interest of the country. This is because our country has many needs. There are a lot of opportunities for people who not only have the compassion, but have the will, to persist and persevere.
Q: I served as president of the Bahan Township Burma Students’ Union when I was living in Burma, and I came to pay my respects to you when you were released from house arrest in 1995. What I would like to ask you now is this: Whatever the military government does—for example, whether it is the National Convention for drafting the constitution, the 2008 Constitution, or the 2010 elections—we have seen splits within the opposition groups. These splits do not reflect differences of opinion, but rather are organizational disagreements. I believe that the recent contacts between you and the government represent nothing more than political maneuverings on the government’s part. Could there now be splits in the opposition organizations because of these maneuverings? And if you think that splits could occur, what factors would lead to them, and what should we do to prevent them?
A: It is not unusual for splits to occur when there are differences within an organization. These things happen in all political movements. The important thing is to think properly and act decisively in matters that you believe will be good for the country. At the same time, try to build unity among the groups.
Q: What kind of person do you think John Yettaw is, the American who swam across Inya Lake to your house without being invited to do so? What do you think of the fact that it was because of him that your term under house arrest was extended? Do you think that John Yettaw’s swim across to your home was an innocent act?
A: Throughout the court case concerning John Yettaw having come into my grounds, I took a principled stand—within the boundaries of the law—that no adverse effect should fall upon anyone. This is why I want you to understand that, apart from what my legal experts submitted in court, I have nothing more to say about this.
Broadcast on Sept. 9, 2011.