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US presses Myanmar on NKorea, Suu Kyi at rare talks

world Updated: Jul 23, 2009 11:35 IST

AFP
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US officials urged Myanmar to obey UN sanctions on North Korea and to review its treatment of Aung San Suu Kyi in a rare meeting between the two countries, a US official said on Thursday.

The talks happened late on Wednesday on the eve of Asia’s biggest security conference in the Thai resort island of Phuket, which US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attending, a senior State Department official said.

Clinton did not attend the meeting with the representatives from the reclusive, junta-ruled nation. The State Department said the US officials urged Myanmar to implement the terms of UN Security Council resolution 1874, which imposed sanctions on North Korea over its recent missile and nuclear tests.

Clinton had raised concerns earlier on Wednesday over the possible transfer of nuclear technology from Kim Jong-Il’s communist regime to military-ruled Myanmar.

The US officials also “noted that the outcome of the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi would affect our willingness and ability to take positive steps in our bilateral relationship.”

Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is currently on trial for breaching the terms of her house arrest after an incident in which an American man swam uninvited to her lakeside house in Yangon in May.

She faces up to five years in jail and is being held in the city’s notorious Insein prison.

Clinton said on Wednesday that if Myanmar frees Aung San Suu Kyi “that would open up opportunities at least for my country to expand our relationship with Burma, including investments in Burma,” she said, referring to Myanmar by its former name.

Japanese officials said that Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win had pledged that his country would oblige by the UN sanctions on North Korea when he met his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone on Wednesday.

“The Myanmar foreign minister mentioned very clearly that Myanmar is a member of the United Nations, Myanmar also is obliged to fully comply with any UN Security council resolutions, including 1874,” said Kazuo Kodama, the Japanese minister’s press secretary. “That is I think a very reassuring message from the Myanmar foreign minister,” Kodama said.