Friday, 8 August 2008

Arroyo urged to push for democratic reforms in Myanmar

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should push for the inclusion of democratic reforms in Burma in a future dialogue between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a self-exiled Burmese lawmaker said Thursday.

Khun Myint Tun said the Philippine government should not stop at demanding the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but push for political reforms in the military ruled Myanmar.

“We like the President’s attitude and statement but to demand only the release of Aung San Suu Kyi is not effective,” he said, referring to the President’s vow to seek Suu Kyi’s release in her national address last week.

“ASEAN should discuss Burma in a dialogue with China,” he said in a briefing, stressing that ASEAN and China play a key role in restoring democracy in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

“If there’s no dialogue, we will challenge the credentials of the SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) at the UN. So the ASEAN, and especially Philippine government should support us,’’ he added.

Myint Tun, a member of the Parliament Union who won but was denied a seat in the 1990 national elections, made the appeal as Arroyo flew to Beijing for bilateral talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Supporters and allies of Suu Kyi are marking today the 20th anniversary of the August 8, 1988 crackdown on protesting students and monks that killed 3,000 in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, has been held continuously by the ruling military junta since 2003.

The junta, which took power in 1988, called elections in 1990, but refused to recognize the results when Suu Kyi’s party won a resounding victory.

No comments: