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U.S. policy to refer to Myanmar as Burma

Nov. 16, 2012 at 12:22 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- It is the policy of the United States to refer to Myanmar by its former name of Burma, a U.S. official said.

The question about using Myanmar or Burma came up when deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes was briefing reporters on U.S. President Barack Obama's scheduled visits to Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia beginning Sunday. A transcript of the briefing was provided by the White House.

"First of all, I would note that on your first question, it is the continued U.S. policy that we refer to Burma," Rhodes said. "We recognize and understand that Myanmar is the name that is used by many within the country and around the world as well, although there are some who also continue to use the traditional name of Burma.

"So, again, we'll continue to refer to Burma, but we certainly understand that this is something that different countries take different views on, and as a matter of courtesy, we understand that in our engagements in Burma, Myanmar may be what officials -- government officials use in referring to their country. So that's how we approach that issue."

The military junta, which ruled the Southeast Asian nation for decades before a civilian government took over last year, changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. The name of the old capital also was changed from Rangoon to Yangon. The name of the country's new capital is Naypyitaw.

The United Nations has recognized the new name of Myanmar.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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