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Signs of Strain Between Burma's Leader, Suu Kyi

With Burma opening hinging on Suu Kyi, Thein Sein, observers worry
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2012 8:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi apparently did not woo many members of the ruling party with her comments in Bangkok last week, in which she cautioned that investors should avoid "reckless optimism" in regards to the country. An adviser to Burma's President U Thein Sein criticized Suu Kyi yesterday, saying her remarks lacked "transparency," reports the New York Times. "Personally, I really admire her, but I have a doubt," said the adviser. The rebuke may seem mild, but Suu Kyi is so popular in Burma that any criticism of her at all is usually avoided.

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While Suu Kyi's trip to Thailand last week was a milestone in the opening of Burma, Thein Sein canceled his planned weekend trip to Bangkok. A Thai newspaper claims he axed his visit because he was "irritated" by Suu Kyi's trip, which included a stop at a refugee camp on the Burma-Thailand border. “Most of the improvements in Burma these days are because of the relationship between Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi," said one expert. "If this relationship is strained, it could hurt national reconciliation." But the Times notes that other analysts are more, well, optimistic, and believe that Suu Kyi and the president have a "rapport." (Read more Aung San Suu Kyi stories.)

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