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India, China major players on Myanmar: Clinton

world Updated: May 21, 2009 08:53 IST
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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the US plans to talk to India and China on the current situation in Myanmar as it considers the two countries as "major players" on the issue.

Appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the US Foreign Policy Priorities for the year 2010, Clinton on Wednesday said talking with major player countries like India and China on the issue of Myanmar is part of Obama Administration's ongoing review of its policy on the South-East Asian nation.

"With respect to Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi, we have been working very hard - since I became Secretary of State - to look at all of our options regarding Myanmar. How can we influence their behaviour more than we obviously have to date? Clearly China, India and a few other countries are major players. And we're going to try," Clinton said in response to a question from Senator Barbara Boxer.

Observing that the Chinese and the Indians have quite a significant trade relationship with Myanmar, Boxer asked: "Do you think there's an opportunity for the US, to encourage China and India to use their economic leverage, with Myanmar, to push for her release? Do you see any other opportunities for pressuring the Burmese regime on this matter?"

Given the rigidity and stubbornness of the military junta, Clinton, however refrained from giving any commitment on the success of her efforts.

"I don't think we can make any kind of assurance, because we don't know whether we will have any success, in convincing them otherwise," she said.

Clinton said it is outrageous that Myanmar's military junta is trying Aung San Suu Kyi and continue to hold her, because of her political popularity. "They intend to hold elections in 2010, which from the beginning will be illegitimate because of the way they have treated her," Clinton said.

"It's our hope that this baseless trial will end with a quick release of her and then a return to some political involvement eventually by her and her party," Clinton said.

After becoming the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had said that the current economic sanctions on Myanmar had failed to yield desired results and thus the Obama Administration would be reviewing it and also look into the possibility of directly engaging the junta.