Hillary Clinton pledges support for Myanmar's democratisation during visit--but says steps taken so far have been "insufficient"; Chinese manufacturing down markedly; UK downgrades diplomatic ties with Iran, considers sanctions; Obama will not apologise for Pakistani deaths after NATO air raid; a second Mexico-US drug tunnel found; and more

Top of the Agenda: Clinton in Myanmar

In the first visit to Myanmar by a U.S. secretary of State in over fifty years, Hillary Clinton said the United States would allow Myanmar to receive international financial assistance (NYT) and join a regional development group. The move follows recent political and economic reforms in the country that followed the election of a civilian government led by President Thein Sein.

Clinton said if Myanmar continued to democratize, the United States would consider upgrading diplomatic relations and exchanging ambassadors with the isolated Southeast Asian nation, but was not yet ready to lift sanctions. She warned that the steps taken thus far by Myanmar have been "insufficient" (al-Jazeera).

Clinton called on Myanmar to rein in military violence, release more political prisoners, and suspend ties with North Korea (WSJ).

Clinton is set to travel from the capital of Naypyitaw to the commercial city of Yangon to meet with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (Telegraph) this evening, ahead of more formal talks on Friday.


In this Policy Innovation Memo, CFR's Joshua Kurlantzick argues that the United States should play a much larger role in shaping Myanmar's reforms by launching a new strategy of engagement, including a sizable aid package, upgraded diplomatic relations, and, if reforms continue, an end to U.S. sanctions.

Clinton is in Myanmar to gauge recent reforms by the military-backed regime, but experts are calling for further democratization, including strengthening the rule of law and reconciliation with ethnic minority groups.

In a CFR meeting conducted via videoconference, Aung San Suu Kyi discusses recent changes in Myanmar, her decision to rejoin the political system, and Myanmar-U.S. relations.

Myanmar is a changed place, and it's not just Aung San Suu Kyi's omnipresence that signals a remarkable transformation, writes TIME's Hannah Beech.



China Manufacturing Activity Falls

Manufacturing activity in China contracted in November for the first time in almost three years, signaling a marked downturn in Chinese output (WSJ). Industrial activity continued to weaken throughout the region, including in South Korea and Taiwan.



UK downgrades diplomatic ties with Iran

Obama refuses to apologise to Pakistan for deaths of soldiers in NATO airstrikes

Another Mexico-US cross-border drug tunnel found


This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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