Panorkkyar, Rai Maraoh: Question: : What is your [the New Mon State Party (NMSP)] view on the call for a second Panglong conference?
Answer: : The NMSP welcomes a second Panglong conference because the second Panglong conference is based on democracy and self-determination, and also national reconciliation.
Question: : How would you respond to claims that a 2nd Panglong conference would do more harm than good?
Answer: : The Burmese regime governs through Burmanization and through a dictatorship. The process of a Panglong conference is completely opposed to the Burmese government’s methods for rule so they would have to make a claim like that.
Question: : What is the Panglong spirit and what does it mean?
Answer: : The Panglong spirit is the determination for independence and to bring together the ethnic groups and the Burmese in pursuit of self-determination and sticking together to bring about a federal union.
Question: : Will the 2nd Panglong have the strength to reconcile the ethnic people?
Answer: : The first Panglong was quite successful and the second will also bring the country closer to democracy and a reconciling of the ethnic people’s issues. The second Panglong conference will be good for the ethnic groups.
Question: : What was implemented by the first Panglong and what benefits do people hope to achieve from the second?
Answer: : During the 1st Panglong conference, when General Aung San and the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL) asked for independence from Britain, Britain responded by asking if the ethnic groups would receive independence as well? The British explained that Burma will receive independence if Burma gives independence to the ethnic groups as well. The 1st Panglong was a catalyst for independence. That was the main benefit of the Panglong conference. If the second Panglong is undertaken and is successful, all ethnic groups will benefit, as well as the Burmese.
Question: : What is the challenge to hold the second Panglong, and why?
Answer: : The main challenge of the second Panglong is the Burmese regime because currently the democracy groups and the ethnic groups are in favor of holding a 2nd Panglong conference.
Question: : How far would the NMSP involve itself in a 2nd Panglong conference?
Answer: : Most people concerned with a 2nd Panglong conference are politicians. Now, the NMSP is no longer holding a ceasefire with the Burmese, so it’s harder for the NMSP to be involved in different activities. But, if allowed, the NMSP will participate in a 2nd Panglong conference. It will depend on how the 2nd Panglong is set up and which groups become involved.
Question: : What would a 2nd Panglong Conference mean for the Mon people?
Answer: : Mainly, the NMSP is fighting with the aims of advocating for Mon people and realization of self-determination for Mon people. A 2nd Panglong conference would also strive for these goals. A 2nd Panglong would benefit the ethnic groups, though not just them, but the whole country as well.
Question: : The Mon weren’t included in the 1st Panglong conference, but they did join in the Taung Gyi Pin Lone. Will they participate in the second Panglong conference?
Answer: : The Mon, Arakan, and the Karen did not participate in the 1st Panglong conference, but one article from the 1st conference stated that all ethnic groups, even those who didn’t attend the Panglong conference, would be afforded the rights set out for them in the 1st Panglong conference. That’s why we hope that the 2nd Panglong conference will implement the rights of the ethnic groups just like the 1st. Even if we weren’t involved in the first Panglong, the Panglong conferences always keep ethnic goals in its main objectives.
Question: : What does NMSP want to tell Mon people about the 2nd Panglong conference?
Answer: : To solve the political situation in Burma peacefully, since 1994 the UN encouraged Burma to have tripartite dialogue between the ethnic groups, democracy groups and the Burmese government to solve the political conflict in Burma. A second Panlong conference will also involve these three groups and it will be good to implement it. Burma received independence more than 60 years ago, but the country degenerated due to the Burmese regime’s takeover and its subsequent Burmanization. The challenge for the Panglong conference is the Burmese regime. If the Burmese regime would change its mind and cooperate then the situation in Burma would be peaceful and the current political conflict will fade. This is why the second Panglong conference would be meaningful for both Burmese and ethnic groups if it is implemented.