In the morning of July 1st 2016, leading expert in Southeast Asian studies Kenton J. Clymer representing Northern Illinois University signed a cooperative agreement with School of International Relations/Research School of Southeast Asia Studies Xiamen University. And he was invited to deliver a lecture entitled “A Forgotten Cold War Story: The United States and Burma during the Cold War”. The activity was hosted by the associate Dean of the School Shi Xueqin.
The first section was the signing ceremony between School of International Relations Xiamen University and Northern Illinois University. Dean of the School Li Yiping and Professor Clymer representing both sides signed the agreement. This moment not only marked the beginning of a cooperative journey between two universities, but a milestone of our school going to the world.
The second sections was Professor Clymer’s academic report. Set in Cold War, the lecture was about the history of Myanmar from the period of British colony to the independence in 1948 and the establishment of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. In the same year, Myanmar established diplomatic relations with the US. In the duration of Cold War, US Myanmar relations didn’t go smoothly when Ne Win was in power. In this period, US Myanmar relations roughly experienced 3 stages: from 1962 to 1967, US Myanmar relations was from tension to détente; from 1967 to 1973 was the coexistence of conflicts and cooperation. US’ offerings of military aid maintained the relations, whereas Myanmar’s refusals to joining any regional organizations hindered further development of relations between two countries; From 1973 to 1988, US Myanmar relations entered a phase of stead development. In this period, the cooperation on drug enforcement inspired cooperation in other fields. In 1988, the establishment of Myanmar military regime indicated an entrance into an untested new stage in US Myanmar relations. After the movement for democracy, Myanmar was beset with difficulties. The representative in this period was Aung San Suu Kyi who won the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution.
Professor Clymer ended the lecture, following by wonderful interactions and interesting discussion between audience and professor Clymer. Professor Clymer pictured a vivid view of US Myanmar relations during Cold War through his brilliant lecture which enriched students knowledge on international politics and broadened global prospective.
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