Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi agreed Thursday to continue pressuring Myanmar to release democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Abdullah, who is expected to succeed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in November, called the current situation in Myanmar unfavorable, and said Malaysia will continue to urge the junta to resolve the matter.

The international community is concerned about Suu Kyi’s detention, he said, citing last month’s effort by foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to urge Myanmar to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.

“I hope Myanmar will take the moves as an expression of concern by friends of neighboring nations instead of an interference in domestic affairs,” Abdullah told Koizumi.

Koizumi said that while Japan is willing to support Myanmar, the nation needs to “listen to the voices of the international community” and create an environment amenable to receiving economic aid.

Japan decided in June to cancel fresh official development assistance to Myanmar after the military leaders failed to release Suu Kyi.

Koizumi and Abdullah meanwhile welcomed recent moves by their countries to step up talks on a bilateral free-trade agreement to be held in September by including members from industrial field and academics.

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