Myanmar–Serbia relations refers to bilateral relations between Myanmar and Serbia. Myanmar and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia established relations on December 19, 1950, and the first ambassadors were appointed in 1952. Serbia as the successor state to Yugoslavia, maintains relations with Myanmar today, and both nations have resident ambassadors in each other's capitals.
Relations during Yugoslavia era
Relations between Yugoslavia and Burma officially began in 1950, and the two countries had an unusually close relationship during the Cold War. In July 1947, Kyaw Nyein and another high ranking Burmese politician visited Yugoslavia, and the 1946 Yugoslav Constitution was the basis for the 1947 Burmese Constitution. The Chinese Embassy in Rangoon described the relations between Yugoslavia and Burma in a confidential report in 1958 as, "relations between Burma and Yugoslavia...fall into special category of relations...while the political cooperation between these two countries cannot be ignored."
The Burmese government viewed Yugoslavia as a prime example of the socialist path they wanted Burma to take, and several high ranking Burmese politicians, including Kyaw Nyein, expressed their desires to transform Burma into the "Yugoslavia of Asia." Both Burma and Yugoslavia were countries made up of many ethnic groups and religions, and both wanted to pursue neutrality during the Cold War.
In 1952, shortly before the two nations appointed ambassadors, the Burmese government reached out to the Yugoslav embassy in Pakistan to ask for an arms deal, and the deal was later solidified during a state visit to Belgrade. Due to the rather fast and uninhibited nature of the arms deliveries, the Burmese military, and General Ne Win in particular, who previously sought support from the United States, was impressed. In the following decades, Yugoslavia became one of, if not the primary arms supplier of Burma.
H.E. U Zaw Tun, the 18th and current ambassador of Myanmar to Serbia, donated a bronze statue of Buddha to the Middle Way Therawada Buddhist Association in Belgrade in 2013, and the embassy there hosts a variety of cultural events.
- DASMIP, PA, 1947, f-124, 425154, Zabeleska o razgovoru druga Price sa predstavnikom burmanske vlade Maung Ohn, dana 5 decembra 1947 godine [Minutes of conversation between comrade Prica and the representative of the Burmese Government Maung Ohn, December 5th 1947]. F. S. V. Donnison, Burma (London: Ernest Benn Limited, 1970), p. 141.
- Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives (hereafter CFMA), 105-00846-02(1), Miandian yu Nansilafu de guanxi (Zhongguo zhu Miandian shiguan bianxie ziliao) [Burma-Yugoslavia relations (materials collected by the Chinese Embassy in Burma)], December 18th 1958, p. 8.
- Hugh Tinker, The Union of Burma: A Study of the First Years of Independence (London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1961. 3rd Edition), p. 362.
- Bertil Lintner, Burma in Revolt: Opium and Insurgency since 1948, p. 154.
- NARA, RG 59, 690B.9321/12-2253, Memorandum of Conversation between General Ne Win and the Army and Air Attachés of the U.S. Embassy in Burma, December 22nd 1953.
- Vojni leksikon [Military Lexicon] (Beograd: Vojnoizdavacki zavod, 1981), p. 71.
- “H.E U Zaw Tun Donates Bronze Buddha Statue to Middle Way Therawada Buddhist Meditation Association.” Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Belgrade, 8 Aug. 2013.