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US sanctions will not affect Burma'

Subject:  US sanctions will not affect Burma's entry into ASEAN: Malaysia

Malaysia-Burma : US sanctions will not affect Burma's entry into ASEAN: 

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 (AFP) - A US decision to clamp economic sanctions on 
Burma will not affect its prospects of joining the Association of Southeast 
Asian Nations (ASEAN), Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday.

"We are going to work very hard to get Myanmar (Burma's official name) into 
ASEAN," Bernama news agency quoted Mahathir as saying in response to 
Washington's announcement Tuesday barring new US investments in Burma.

The US said the action was due to the Burmese ruling junta's repression of the 
pro-democracy opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Asked if Malaysia as the current chairman of ASEAN would protest against the 
US decision, Mahathir said Kuala Lumpur would discuss the issue with the other 
ASEAN members.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, 
Thailand and Vietnam.

It has agreed to admit Cambodia, Laos and Burma to enlarge the ASEAN family to 
10 but no timing for their entry had been set.

ASEAN foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Kuala Lumpur on May 31 to 
discuss when to admit the three countries into the regional grouping.

They are likely to be admitted this year, either during the ASEAN ministerial 
meeting in July and the informal ASEAN summit in December, some ASEAN watchers 

On whether the US decision to impose sanctions would affect ASEAN-US 
relations, Mahathir said: "No, I don't know. I can't predict what ASEAN is 
going to say. We will talk to ASEAN countries."

Many analysts say that the US sanctions will have little bite given the small 
number of American companies doing business in Burma and will only open the 
door further for their Asian and European competitors.