Myanmar vs Burma

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Lisa Mullins: I'm Lisa Mullins and this is The World. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's travels to Southeast Asia this week posed a number of challenges. Among them, whether to call the country she's now visiting Burma, which evokes the old British Colonial days, or whether to call it Myanmar, the name the repressive government adopted in 1989. The United Nations has recognized the country as Myanmar, the US has not. Koko Aung of the BBC's Burmese Service says the name game is a hot topic in his homeland and the country's democracy icon has weighed in.

Koko Aung: Aun San Suu Kyi chose to call the old name, Burma, and the regime tried to change it. And if you talk to for example, a government official, particularly some high ranking official, and then you refer to the country as Burma, they will instantly take it as someone who supports the cause for democracy.

Mullins: So what name has Secretary Clinton chosen?

Hillary Clinton: Obviously, we and many other nations are quite hopeful that these flickers of progress will be ignited into a movement for change that will benefit the people of the country.

Mullins: Well, you heard it there, "the country," which was maybe a bit of a dodge. Reports suggest we're gonna hear more compromise and equally squishy names for he country, including "this land" and "what you call Myanmar."