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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   15  December 2010

Singapore's MM Lee says Myanmar junta "dense"

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Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew described Myanmar's ruling generals as "dense" and "stupid" people who have "mismanaged" the country's vast resources, US cables released by WikiLeaks said.

In a 2007 meeting with top US officials, Lee also reportedly said Myanmar's envoy in Singapore had told the city-state that his country could "survive any sanctions" because of its abundance of natural resources.

Lee believed the Myanmar problem could be solved if a younger generation of generals who were less "obtuse" would step forward and possibly forge a power-sharing agreement with the country's democracy movement, the cable said.

"They could share power with the democracy activists, although probably not with Aung San Suu Kyi, who was anathema to the military," it said.

Asked about the prospects of Asean appointing an envoy to Myanmar, Lee suggested that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (SBY) military background would make him an ideal candidate for the post.

"He suggested that Indonesian President Yudhoyono could potentially be an interlocutor," the US cable said.

"As a former general, SBY might be able to meet with Senior General Than Shwe and get him to listen.

In a statement issued earlier, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said as a principle, the ministry does not comment on leaks.

He added Singapore has long-standing, robust and positive relationships with all countries in the region.

The spokesman said these relationships are built on a strong foundation of shared interests and are not based on hearsay or gossip.

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