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March 1, 2008

US-ASEAN TIES/ BURMA
Senior US diplomat: Burmese junta has a bleak future

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is facing some challenges the most difficult one of which being the issue of Burma (Myanmar), Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, told a seminar in Bangkok.

The senior diplomat, addressing an audience at Chulalongkorn University, warned that the US would continue to put diplomatic pressure on Burma, including sanctions, until a legitimate solution to the country's problems is found.

"The future of that regime is bleak, so they should try to respond," said Hill
"So let's see if the Burmese authorities understand that we have a have a lot of options for dealing with Burma, but we do not have the option of turning our backs and forgetting the problem," he added.

UN Burma envoy Ibrahim Gambari, who is seeking an international consensus on how to handle Burma, is due to visit the country next month after being denied a visa for weeks.

Hill was heading back to Beijing from Bangkok on Saturday to hold more talks with Chinese officials on how to move forward with the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear capabilities, a US official said Friday.


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