A top U.S. official has criticized Burma's political situation, calling it a "cancer" that could spread to neighboring countries.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick made the comment Thursday during a summit of the Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in Laos.
On Tuesday, Burma announced that it would skip its planned chairmanship of the 10-member regional bloc in 2006, because of objections to its human rights record.
And President Bush this week signed a law imposing trade sanctions on Burma for another year for its ongoing detention of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.