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ASEAN will not drop support for Bur

Subject: ASEAN will not drop support for Burma entry after US action: analyst

US-Burma-ASEAN : ASEAN will not drop support for Burma entry after US action: 

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 (AFP) - ASEAN will not be influenced by any form of 
United States pressure to turn-down a bid by Burma to join the regional 
organisation, a political analyst said here Saturday.

"The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will not back out their 
support for Burma's entry," said M.Rajendran, an ASEAN political specialist at 
University Malaya.

Speaking a day after Washington called on ASEAN not to admit Burma, he said 
the question of Burma's membership was a matter for the grouping.

"ASEAN's stance is clear. The want the whole of southeast Asia to be in the 
regional group to enhance regional stability and growth," Rajendran said.

He said a united stance by ASEAN on the matter was a positve development for 
the regional grouping.

"It signifies ASEAN's role, voice and influence in the region," he added.

Rajendran said ASEAN had to demonstrate it was a pan-Asian regional grouping 
with clout and not be seen as losing its influence out to the Asia-Pacific 
Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

But he was quick to warn ASEAN may lose the goodwill of the United States if 
the protest was ignored.

"Some ASEAN countries are depended on US goodwill for trade and investments, 
in particular Indonesia and Philippines," he said.

His comments followed an announcement by US State Department spokesman 
Nicholas Burns Friday that the United States believed ASEAN members should 
reject Burma's bid for full membership because of its "woeful human rights 

"We are trying to use our influence to make the point that Burma should be 
given a stiff message that it is not welcome," Burns said of the ASEAN 
proposal to admit Burma.

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

Rajendran also said the US' persuasive "methods" may take on a punitive note 
if ASEAN countries continued to ignore their views.

"The US is being polite. They could become ugly, if ASEAN insists on Burma's 
entry," he said.