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US Senator: Burma Could Become Threat To Regional Instability - 2003-09-28


U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says Burma is fast becoming a threat to security and stability in southeast Asia.

Mr. Lugar heavily criticized Burma's military government for putting the country on what he calls a "dangerous course." In a commentary published today (Sunday) in The Washington Post (newspaper), the (Republican) senator from (the state of) Indiana warned the threat posed by Burma is largely being overlooked by the Western powers.

Senator Lugar says Burma is building a nuclear reactor with help from Russia, and he cites reports that Rangoon is buying missiles from North Korea. He contends that India and China are using Burma as a pawn in their regional rivalry, and that the smaller country has been "cynically" using its position in southeast Asia to foster potential friction.

Mr. Lugar gives examples of how Burma's ruling generals have killed and abused the Burmese people, resisted international sanctions, and recently reimposed house arrest upon the country's pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi.

The senator says the United States should make Burma a priority in its relations with Russia, China, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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