Clinton challenges Myanmar on reforms

By MATTHEW LEE | December 1, 2011 | 3:51 AM EST

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is challenging the leaders of Myanmar to continue and expand reforms.

She says the U.S. is ready to improve relations with the civilian government in the Southeast Asian nation — also known as Burma — but only if it stays on the path of democratization.

On a historic visit, Clinton on Thursday offered the country incentives, including the prospect of upgraded diplomatic ties in return for steps that include releasing political prisoners and ending ethnic violence. She also warned that Myanmar must break military ties with North Korea.

Myanmar's president appears eager to embrace the opening with the United States. He told Clinton her visit was a "milestone" that would "enhance relations and cooperation."