Message of Restraint

Bush: Well, I want China to join the rest of the world and do -- they have the most influence to speak to the generals, to urge them to use restraint. Not to fire on the protestors and to actually urge them to enter a dialogue with the, with the protestors and the other democracy advocates in Burma so they can start the transition to what was overwhelmingly the election in 1990, and that was the National League of Democracy Party won. Aung San Suu Kyi is their leader, and she's been under house arrest off and on ever since. And the military regime just, you know, said the results of the election didn't matter and they've been dictators ever since.

Raddatz: I think China did come out with a message today saying that they -- that is not enough.

Bush: I did hear that, and that's a good first step. I hope they'll do more.

Raddatz: A legislator from the European Union today said that they think the Olympics should be boycotted. Are you willing to go that far?

Bush: Well, I mean, that isn't my decision, certainly for our participation in the Olympics. But I do think it's a really good time for China to join the rest of the world both in, not propping up the government in the Sudan or in Burma.

And both of these countries are known for egregious human rights violations, and if China can be a partner with other countries, I think they could be very, very good help in both of these situations. And they seem to have been responsive in Darfur, and I hope they will be responsive in Burma as well.

Raddatz: What prompted your interest in Burma? This seems to be your No. 1 foreign policy issue.

Bush: Well, now it really is -- just these last few weeks because of watching these protests and being -- and I'm worried and concerned, actually for the citizens of Burma. I became interested in Aung San Suu Kwi, the Nobel Prize laureate, who's been under house arrest off and on for the last 18 years in Burma.

She, I think really represents the hopes of the Burmese people, the hopes for democracy, the hopes for an end to this tyrannical reign. Her father was in the military. Burma's military was once very well-established, very well-liked, very good reputation. He was really the hero of the liberation of Burma.

He was assassinated, and when she came back to Burma as an adult, she was able to lead the National League of Democracy party … and I hope people will study her life and learn about her because she's led a very interesting life of courage, I'd have to say, and sacrifice, but then I just became more and more aware of the human rights violations in Burma.

Raddatz: And do you talk to the president about this? I know the president put a statement out.

Bush: Sure. That's right. And in fact the sanctions that he announced in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly were enforced today. These are economic sanctions against 14 members of the military regime there. These are sanctions that both economic sanctions as well as visa blocks for these 14 members of the military and their families from the United States.

I do talk about it with him [President Bush]. I do talk about it with Dr. Rice and Steve Hadley and other people in the State Department that are very aware of what's going on in Burma. But, I mean, he's interested very much also just like I am.

Raddatz: And what else do you think the United States could do if the sanctions don't really work?

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