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UK Asks China to Play a Key Role in Burma's Reform


British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, on Thursday, called for more freedom of information in China and greater government accountability, saying countries with economic ties wanted more consistency from the country's government.

Speaking during a visit to China's Central Party School, in Beijing, Beckett urged the Chinese government to "provide greater accountability of government - which in the final analysis does require greater political participation and representation."

"Provide the guarantee of independent courts, provide transparency of decision making and the result is that ordinary citizens have much less need to resort to public confrontation to make their point. Reform, in other words, can be not a force for fragmentation but a source of stability," she said in her address to officials.

Beckett said that the international community placed high value on stability in China because of the growing stake they have invested in the country's continued economic success.

China's communist government has a firm grip on the media and the Internet, firing or arresting aggressive reporters and editors.

Beckett called for greater freedom of information, saying that any healthy economy needed journalists and individuals who were free to point out problems without fear of reprisal.

Beckett applauded China's role in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament and said she hoped China would play a similar role in negotiations with Burma's government.

"China has played a key role in the six-party talks with North Korea, and I hope China can bring that same influence to bear on the regime in Burma," she said.

In January, China and Russia vetoed a draft US resolution at the UN Security Council urging Burma to stop persecuting minority and opposition groups.

Information for this report is provided by APTN.

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