The US on Friday fought off Chinese objections to get the UN Security Council (UNSC) to examine mounting concerns over events in Myanmar.
Ten countries - -- including the US, Britain and France -- voted for a US-proposed motion to put military-ruled Myanmar on the agenda. China, Russia, Qatar and the Congo voted against the motion while Tanzania abstained.
The US has been pressing for several months for Myanmar to be discussed. It has said that drug trafficking, mounting numbers of refugees, human rights and the growth of AIDS cases in the Asian country are a threat to international security.
But the decision infuriated China, whose ambassador, Wang Guangya
"This means that ... any country that faces similar issues should all be inscribed on the agenda of this council," Wang told the UNSC. "This is preposterous."
Wang said that neither Myanmar's neighbors nor most countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) consider "the situation in Myanmar as being any threat to regional peace and security."
"Without seeking the consent of the country in question and without a request put forward by any country in the region, some countries as far away as across the oceans harbor the belief that the situation in Myanmar is indeed a threat to international peace and security, this itself represents at least a far cry from the reality."
Putting Myanmar on the UNSC agenda launches a process that will allow for regular formal reports to be made on events in the country.
Washington has led efforts to force Yangon to ease human rights concerns, notably release democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for most of the past 17 years.
Myanmar in May extended her detention for another year, defying an international outcry demanding freedom for the 61-year-old Nobel peace laureate.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won the 1990 elections but was never allowed to rule. Its offices have been shut down by the junta, which has also locked up many other party members.
The US administration has called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
It has also called on the military regime to take steps to end "ethnic violence" against the Karen minority and "to address HIV/AIDS and drugs and human trafficking."
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