Military-ruled Burma has hinted that it might forgo its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations amid international criticism over its human rights record.
Burmese Foreign Ministry official Thaung Tun told reporters in the Lao capital of Vientiane Sunday that his country did not want to put ASEAN in a very difficult position.
The remark suggested that Burma might step aside when its turn to host the regional grouping comes around next year, but the ministry official did not confirm such a move.
ASEAN is holding its annual security conference in Vientiane this week. Members have urged Burma to meet U.S. and European Union demands to release democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and start working toward democratic reforms.