Australia's foreign minister visited Burma on 2-3 October, 2002 to meet with the ruling generals as well as democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Alexander Downer's trip, the most senior western political visit to Burma for many years, was to press the military government to open substantive talks on political reforms with the democratic opposition. Australia has long taken a more conciliatory approach to Burma than the United States or European countries. But the Australian foreign minister said that he came away disappointed because the ruling generals refused to give specifics or a timetable on the reform process.
Listen to the following participants present their views regarding Australia's policy towards Burma on Saturday's October 5, 2002 "Democracy Forum" program (UTC 1130/local EDT 7:30 am): Dr. Myo Nyunt of Edith Cowen University, Perth, Australia; Dr. Naing Aung of Network for Democracy & Development; and Zaw Naing, an activist student from Canberra.