Than Shwe tours cyclone damage, finally

Yesterday, two-and-a-half weeks after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, junta leader Than Shwe finally descended from the remote mountain capital of Naypyitaw to tour cyclone-damaged areas outside of Yangon. He still has not visited the devastated Irrawaddy delta region. The Burmese government also agreed today to accept more aid from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.

Yesterday, two-and-a-half weeks after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, junta leader Than Shwe finally descended from the remote mountain capital of Naypyitaw to tour cyclone-damaged areas outside of Yangon. He still has not visited the devastated Irrawaddy delta region. The Burmese government also agreed today to accept more aid from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations but is still blocking most aid from Western countries. French and American warships remain anchored off the coast of Irrawaddy, unable to bring food and supplies to shore.

One of the tragic ironies of Burma's glacial response to the disaster has been that they have made the Chinese Communist Party look really good by comparison. Say what you will about Hu Jintao, he was on the ground in Sichuan a few days after the earthquake and the Chinese government has broken sharply with past practice by asking for foreign aid.

Granted, "better than Burma" isn't exactly much of a compliment but the contrast is still striking. 

Yesterday, two-and-a-half weeks after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, junta leader Than Shwe finally descended from the remote mountain capital of Naypyitaw to tour cyclone-damaged areas outside of Yangon. He still has not visited the devastated Irrawaddy delta region. The Burmese government also agreed today to accept more aid from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations but is still blocking most aid from Western countries. French and American warships remain anchored off the coast of Irrawaddy, unable to bring food and supplies to shore.

One of the tragic ironies of Burma’s glacial response to the disaster has been that they have made the Chinese Communist Party look really good by comparison. Say what you will about Hu Jintao, he was on the ground in Sichuan a few days after the earthquake and the Chinese government has broken sharply with past practice by asking for foreign aid.

Granted, "better than Burma" isn’t exactly much of a compliment but the contrast is still striking. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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