RVISION January 4, 2016

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, sent his best wishes to the people of Myanmar on their Independence Day on January 4.

“This 68th anniversary of Myanmar’s independence follows your country’s historic parliamentary elections on November 8,” he noted in a press release.

Independence Day is a national holiday observed in Myanmar on January 4 every year. The date celebrates Myanmar’s Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on January 4, 1948.

“On that day, millions of people around the country, many voting for the first time, seized the opportunity to move Myanmar one step closer to a more democratic, peaceful, and prosperous future.”

He said the United States remains committed to supporting Myanmar’s pursuit of these goals.

“We will continue to work with Myanmar to strengthen democratic institutions, promote and protect human rights, and support broad-based, inclusive economic development.”

In 1948, the nation became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first president and U Nu as its first prime minister. Unlike most other former British colonies and overseas territories, it did not become a member of the Commonwealth.

Following the World War II, Aung San, the father of Aung San Suu Kyi, negotiated the Panglong Agreement with ethnic leaders that guaranteed the independence of Burma as a unified state.

In 1947, Aung San became deputy chairman of the Executive Council of Burma, a transitional government. But in July 1947, political rivals assassinated Aung San and several cabinet members.