Two of Burma’s government-run newspapers today denounced US sanctions for inhibiting progress on human rights and democracy in the military-ruled country, adding that Washington imposed the measure to serve its own interests.

On July 7, US president George W Bush signed a law extending a range of trade sanctions, imposed the previous year, against Burma for an additional 12 months, for failing to improve its human rights record, clamp down on drug trafficking or release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act 2003 includes a ban on US investments in and imports from Burma, financial services and certain property dealings. Since 1988 the US has also had an arms embargo in place and bilateral aid has been suspended.

Today’s article, written by Aung Moe San, was published in both the Myanma Alin and Kyemon newspapers on Thursday. It called the American sanctions a foreign policy publicity stunt aimed at winning support for President Bush and incumbent senators before the US elections in November. The article
also accused Washington of attempting to make Burma its client-state.

The sanctions are misguided, the article charged, because Asian countries, including those from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, continue to trade with the military regime in Rangoon. Sanctions are also contrary to American efforts to promote market economies around the world, the
article added.

It also pointed out that while the US censures Burma, it is simultaneously boosting economic ties with China, a communist state which runs a “socialist economy”.

Meanwhile, Burma and China reached 11 agreements, exchanges of notes and memorandums of understanding last week on agriculture, industry, communications, energy and electricity, during a seven-day visit to Beijing by Burma’s Prime Minister Gen Khin Nyunt. Khin Nyunt also met with
Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Political Bureau of Chinese Communist Party member Juo Gan, and chairman of the National People’s Congress of China, Wu Bangguo.

Burmese delegates met with officials from Alcatel Shanghai Bell Co, Ltd, Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone Development Company, Transtech Engineering Corporation, Zingang Locomotive Work, Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co, Ltd, Jifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co, Ltd, Jsing Daring
Biotechnologies Group, Zhejiang Orient Engineering Co, Ltd, China Worldbest Group Co, Ltd and Jiangsu Pengfei Group Co, Ltd.