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UN Envoy to Burma to Meet Chinese Foreign Minister

The U.N. envoy to Burma is scheduled to meet Tuesday with China's foreign minister as part of a new round of talks in Asia on political reform in military-ruled Burma.

Ibrahim Gambari met Monday with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials in Beijing.

Wang said after the meeting that China supports mediation by Gambari and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Burma's political situation.

He repeated China's opposition to sanctions and other pressure on Burma's military government, and said the international community should instead provide what she called "constructive assistance."

Gambari said Monday that he believes Burma is in a "critical phase" in terms of developments in the country and in its relations with neighboring countries and the international community.

After his visit to China, Gambari will continue his talks on promoting Burma's political reform in Indonesia and Singapore.

Gambari has visited Burma twice since its bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters last September. As international pressure builds on Burma, its military leaders have taken steps to begin talking with opposition politicians. They recently announced plans to hold a constitutional referendum in May and general elections in 2010.

Gambari wants to visit Burma as soon as possible, but its military leaders say he cannot visit until April.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.