US and Burma hold ‘senior-level’ talks

According to various sources (VOA; Washington Post), U.S. diplomats, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Eric John, met with three Burmese ministers, Nyan Win (Foreign Affairs), Kyaw Hsan (Information), and Khin Aung Myint (Culture) in Beijing this Tuesday June 26. The discussions included the ongoing issue of human rights violations in Burma, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and supporting Ibrahim Gambari, the UN envoy’s work in Burma.

U.S. State Department spokesman Casey reported, however that

Officials had a “frank exchange of views,” but added that Burma gave no indication it was prepared to release Aung San Suu Kyi or other political prisoners.

This is the highest-level senior discussions between the U.S. and Burma since 2003.

Could this be a slow change in the way the U.S. government treats the Burmese government? Initially, the U.S. justified this with the lack of cooperation on part of the Burmese, in releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and for failing to steadily democratizing the country. But this is too early to tell. The location the talks were held, in Beijing, could also signify some pressures the Chinese have been giving to Burma to stabilize the country politically.

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