Australia asks China to influence Myanmar against crackdown

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Sydney, Sep 27 (UNI) Australian Prime Minister John Howard today asked China to use its influence over the military junta in Myanmar to put an end to the crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.

''The country that can exert most pressure on Burma(Myanmar) is China. We are encouraging China to exert a positive influence on the regime to encourage it to hold back on the repression and to adopt a more accommodating attitude towards the people,'' Mr Howard said.

He said while Australia would consider economic sanctions against regime officials and impose further visa restrictions on them, China was best placed to influence the military junta, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Condemning the actions by security forces yesterday which left at least four dead, he said he hoped the UN Security Council would take action against the ruling junta.

''This is a thoroughly loathsome regime and the repression is appalling,'' he said.

He added that the regime in Myanmar was resistant to outside pressure.

''Equally, the people are resilient and there's a real spark of freedom there and there is a desire to enjoy that freedom. But it's very difficult because it's a very repressive regime,'' the Prime Minister observed.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer ruled out economic sanctions yesterday, saying they would have no impact.


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