World Country Burma

About the world country Burma, its location, size, population, and who is in power.

NATIONS OF THE WORLD

BURMA

Location: On the Bay of Bengal (Indian Ocean) in Southeast Asia, between Thailand and the Indian subcontinent. Size: 261,217 sq. mi. (676,552 sq. km.). Population: 35,656,000 (72% Burman, 7% Karen, 6% Shan, 3% Indian, 2% Kachin, 2% Chin, 1% Chinese).

Who Really Rules: The bureaucracy of the Burma Socialist Program party controls Burma's industrial economy through a number of state-owned enterprises, but most important decisions are made by President U Ne Win, the general who seized power in 1962. Ne Win's government successfully distributed the wealth of the country, but it let the economy stagnate. The black market is not only the source of most imported commodities but also the agency for a huge chunk of Burma's rice crop.

Since Burma achieved its independence in 1949, the central government has been fighting insurgents in several areas of the country. The most significant, in the northeast Shan states, is led by the Burmese Communist party, which seeks a nationwide victory. The Communists use their friendship with China-the chief supplier of armaments-to win allies among the autonomist armies of the Shan, Karen, Mon, and Kachin ethnic groups. These long-simmering insurgencies have hampered Ne Win's limited plans for development by restricting access to the country's valuable mineral and timber resources. Even among the Burmese, the military government is overwhelmingly unpopular.

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