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US sanctions may influence Myanmar'

Subject: US sanctions may influence Myanmar's ASEAN entry

Subject: U.S. sanctions may influence Myanmar's ASEAN entry

     BANGKOK, April 22 Kyodo - The United States' decision to impose
economic sanctions against Myanmar may have ramifications for the
timing of its admission into the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN), a Thai Foreign Ministry official said Tuesday.
     ''ASEAN has been concerned that Myanmar's admission may cause
ties between ASEAN and dialogue partners like the U.S. to
deteriorate,'' said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
     But the official declined to characterize the U.S. move as a
warning to ASEAN that it should delay the timing of Myanmar's
admission.  ASEAN follows a policy of ''constructive engagement''
toward Myanmar.
     ASEAN, which groups Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the
Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, is considering the simultaneous
admission of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar as early as July.
     The official said the imminent U.S. sanctions would be discussed
at an informal meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers scheduled to be
held in Kuala Lumpur on May 31 to arrive at a final decision on the
timing of the three countries' admission.
     U.S. President Bill Clinton has approved the imposition of
economic sanctions against Myanmar due to human rights abuses by
its ruling junta.  The sanctions, to be announced later Tuesday, will
reportedly involve banning new U.S. investment in Myanmar.
     The official expressed doubt the sanctions will further the
cause of fostering democracy in Myanmar and added that all they will
probably do is hurt American economic interests in Myanmar.
     ''It is hard to see Myanmar concede to the U.S.,'' he said.
     Myanmar student dissidents in Bangkok, however, welcomed the
upcoming U.S. sanctions by saying they look forward to seeing more
countries follow the U.S.
     A spokesman for the All Burma Students' Democratic Front said it
expects the European Union to impose economic sanctions on the
military junta government as well.