Sunday, December 21, 2014   

Washington sticks with Myanmar name for diplomacy
(01-07 11:13)

The United States sometimes uses the official name Myanmar instead of Burma as a “diplomatic courtesy'' to the Buddhist country, the State Department said Monday, in a sign of rapprochement.
Military leaders changed the name to Myanmar in 1989, reflecting a native flavor. The name “Burma'' was a sorry legacy of British colonialism and implied that the ethnically torn land belonged only to the Burman majority.
But the opposition and exiles fiercely opposed the change, seeing it as a symbolic step to create an entirely new country, and the United States has stood in solidarity by calling the nation Burma.
On Friday, however, Secretary of State John Kerry twice referred to Myanmar in a statement marking independence day.
Deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said “it continues to be US government policy to refer to the country as Burma.''
But “in certain settings, US government officials refer to the country as Myanmar as a diplomatic courtesy,'' she added, citing President Barack Obama's visit to the country in 2012 when he alternated between the two.
“I don't think there's a confusion,'' she said.—AFP

   
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