PHNOM PENH: Myanmar says it must now swallow “a bitter pill” in order to maintain peace and stability and to prevent anarchy in the crisis-plagued country.
Its Foreign Minister U Win Aung said the “bitter pill” was the temporary arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
”We have no intention to prolong her detention and will release her as soon as the situation permits,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Suu Kyi, who is the leader of Myanmar’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy, has been held under “protective custody” following clashes between her followers and the military on May 30.
“How far she is from freedom, I cannot say, please forgive me. We know that the world is watching (for her release) and the people of Myanmar know it,” he said.
Win Aung said he had taken note on the frank views and advice expressed by his colleagues during the 36th Asean Ministerial Meeting and would submit the opinions to his country’s leadership.
He also defended accusations that his country’s military junta was brutal.
“We are not brutal people.
“If we are brutal, there would be signs of brutality all across the country,” he said.
On Wednesday, United States Secretary of State Collin Powell had told “the brutal rulers of Burma (Myanmar)” to release Suu Kyi.
Meanwhile, at the post-ministerial conference, Asean and China reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen co-operation in the areas of regional security and economy.
PMC chairman Hor Namhong said China’s decision to be a signatory of the Treaty of Amity and Co-operation in Southeast Asia (TAC) was a testimony of the superpower’s commitment towards regional peace and stability.
“In the field of economy, Asean and China have agreed on measures to accelerate this surge in economic growth in an equitable and sustainable way, including a prospective free trade area in 10 years.
“This affirms Asean’s view of the Chinese economy as a vast opportunity and not only as a competitive challenge,” Hor said.
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