US open to improving military ties with Myanmar if reforms continue: Panetta
Singapore, June 3 (ANI): US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the United States is open to improving military ties with Myanmar if that country continues with its political and human rights reforms.
Panetta's speech at a defence conference in Singapore was designed to promote America's focus on the Asia-Pacific region, both militarily and diplomatically.anetta said that assuming that Myanmar is able to make such changes and would continue with efforts to open up its political system, the Pentagon would have discussions about how Asian countries can improve their military relationship.
"In dealing with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, this is not a Cold War situation where the U.S. simply charges in, builds permanent bases and tries to establish a power base in this region," Washington Post quoted Panetta as saying.
In today's world, he said, the U.S. must engage with other countries to help them build their own military capabilities so they can defend themselves.
"We will encourage that kind of relationship with every nation that we deal with in this region, including Myanmar," Panetta said.
A senior Pentagon official said that Panetta expected the Burmese Government to continue with reforming and promoting human rights, and once it shows progress, then stronger military ties could be possible.
Myanmar is emerging from decades of authoritarian rule and diplomatic isolation.
Last month, President Barack Obama eased an investment ban on Myanmar, and named the first U.S ambassador to the country in 22 years.
Human rights activists, however, criticized the move, saying it was too soon to reward the country since hundreds of political prisoners are still being held there. (ANI)
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