Myanmar rebukes US for calling it "Burma" in statement

Featured Politics South East Asia - January 28th, 2013

Myanmar has criticized the US for referring to the country as “Burma” in a statement from the US embassy in Yangon.

“Myanmar strongly objects to the usage of the words ‘Burma’, ‘Burmese government’ and ‘Burmese military’ in the US embassy’s press release and not using the name recognized by the United Nations and the whole international community,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media. It was responding to a US embassy press release on the conflict on northern Kachin state.

The Foreign Ministry urged the embassy to follow most countries and the UN which refer to the country using its official name, citing President Barack Obama’s speech during his landmark visit late last year where he referred to the country as “Myanmar” for the first time.

The ruling junta founded Myanmar as the official English name of Burma in 1989 and was mostly used by the nation’s leaders in an apparent nod to the dramatic reforms in the country.

The US embassy issued a statement last week which expressed Washington’s concerns on the renewed fighting between the Myanmar military and ethnic rebels and urged the government to protect civilians and allow humanitarian access to the area, Reuters reports.

Myanmar lashed out at the embassy for not mentioning “terrorist” acts by the Kachin Independence Army and said it hoped the embassy would “avoid future actions that may affect mutual respect, mutual understanding and cooperation”.