Washington is pleased with Burma. The military-backed government instituted a series of human rights reforms, including a cease-fire with ethnic rebels and the release of allegedly hundreds of political prisoners, that allows the U.S. to do business with the strategically situated Asian country with reduced criticism. Restored relations also gives the U.S. a foothold from which to reduce Chinese influence in the region.

The particulars on how far the reforms go are unclear, however. A State Department official said that the U.S. still lacked details on the number of prisoners released and whether the Burmese government had ended its violent campaign against insurgents. –ARK

Los Angeles Times:

The White House was eager for rapprochement partly to pull the resource-rich country out of China’s political and economic orbit. Clinton flew to the capital, Naypyidaw, shortly after President Obama announced a “pivot” in U.S. military and diplomatic policy to reassure allies in the Asia-Pacific region who are nervous about China’s increasing assertiveness.

… A senior State Department official said U.S. officials still lacked details on the prisoners who were released and that it wasn’t clear that the fighting between the government and the minorities had actually stopped.

“Unacceptable violence continues,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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