Myanmar junta fears criticism from Bush at APEC summit
* Bush to urge for democracy in Burma
BANGKOK: Myanmar’s junta faces a roasting from US President George W Bush over the continued detention of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi when he attends next week’s meeting of Pacific Rim leaders here.
Bush is also expected to urge Southeast Asian leaders at next week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to do more to push for democratic reforms in Myanmar, which has been run by the military for four deacades.
Bush’s national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has said the president will make clear his concern for the welfare of Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest in the Myanmar capital Yangon, during his six-nation tour of Asia.
“We have been in constant contact with the UN representative about this and asking that she be visited and that we know her state,” Rice said this week.
“You can believe the president will talk quite a lot about the need for freedom in Burma,” in talks with Thai leaders, among others, she added. Myanmar is not a member of APEC.
However, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra suggested Thursday that the United States did not understand the issue well and that he would resist pressure from Bush to do more to intervene in the neighbouring nation’s internal affairs.
“I don’t think that this issue, on which Thailand does not agree with the United States, will put more pressure on Thailand,” he told reporters.
“The US wanted us to put on more pressure which we can only do to a certain extent that is not considered intervention,” he said.
With regards to the “positive developments” praised by ASEAN, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: “We don’t see those and we don’t see any need for a roadmap unless it has the full participation of the opposition.”—AFP