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If ‘fair’ election, U.S. may lift some sanctions: McCain


(Mizzima) – Speaking in Vietnam before he arrives in Burma on Friday evening, U.S. Senator John McCain said with a free and fair April 1 by-election, some U.S. sanctions could be lifted.

US Sen. John McCain at a press conference at the United States  Information Service office in Dagon Township in Rangoon in June 2011. Photo: MizzimaMcCain, who is traveling with Senator Joe Liberman, said Burma could expect “some response from the United States in terms of the status quo between our countries as it exists now.”

“And certainly lifting of the sanctions, or some of them, would be part of that consideration,” McCain said.

The United States has upgraded diplomatic ties with Burma following the recent release of hundreds of political prisoners, saying more rewards would follow with concrete steps toward democracy and improving human rights, particularly in ethnic areas. Recently, Burma launched a series of moves designed to move the country towards democracy.
 
McCain, a former navy pilot and prisoner of war in Vietnam, said ties between the U.S. and Vietnam should be strengthened to help counter China’s influence in the region, but Vietnam's human rights record would limit progress.
 
“There is increased tensions with China about the South China Sea and other issues, and we believe that a multilateral approach to China and an increase in our strategic partnership with Vietnam is certainly called for,” he said, but impossible now because of the country’s human rights record.
 
McCain was a Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 election. Graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958, he became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, his plane was shot down, he was seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. McCain experienced episodes of torture, and his war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.

He is known for his work towards restoring diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s.
 
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