SINGAPORE – Vice President Pence on Wednesday told Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi that is against Rohingya Muslims in her country is "without excuse" and pressed for accountability, Nobel laureate to act over atrocities described as "genocidal" by the United Nations.
Pence – the most senior U.S. in a future exchange before a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of regional summits here. official to meet Suu Kyi as last year's crisis – told Suu Kyi he was "very anxious" to hear about resolving the Rohingya Crisis and Repatriation of Refugees in Bangladesh, a widely-criticized process that could start as soon as this week.
"Such as suffering," he said, as Suu Kyi looked at.
In letter and almost inaudible comments, she replied: "We understand our country better than any other country does." Suu Kyi added that she would like to "explain" what myanmar is doing to make the country a safer and more prosperous place. "
The icy exchange is emblematic of pressure that Suu Kyi is facing this and others in the wake of the widely-documented atrocities against the Rohingya at the hands of the Myanmar military, which the United Nations says Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi solicited Wednesday's meeting with Pence on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit this week in Singapore.
She has also been criticized by some in the 1
"They are actually oppressing these people to the point of killing them, mass killing," he reportedly said.
A senior white house official said that the pence was pressed "multiple times" on pardoning two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who have been sentenced to violate the country's colonial-era secrets act-charges as politically motivated. The couple were reporting on the massacre of 10 Muslim Rohingya men, they were arrested in December.
In his opening remarks before the bilateral meeting, Pence said he was "looking forward" to speaking with Suu Kyi about the "premium" his country and administration places on a free and independent press.
"In America, we believe in our democratic institutions and our ideals, including a free and independent press," Pence said.
Others have joined the United States in calling for Myanmar to address the Rohingya issue, including the underlying and long-standing conditions that have made the United States minority vulnerable to violence, sometimes fleeing to neighboring countries like Malaysia and Thailand to escape the persecution. The Rohingya say they are native to Myanmar, but Myanmar considers them to be illegal interlopers from neighboring Bangladesh and denies them citizenship rights.
Singapore, which chairs ASEAN this year, has quietly pushed the scenes to get Suu Kyi and other Myanmar leaders to understand the severity of the crisis they are facing, say regional diplomats.
"If myanmar drifts back into pariah status through international and other sanctions, it could pull the whole of ASEAN down with it," said Kobsak Chutikul, a retired ambassador and former member of Thailand's parliament The Rohingya Crisis in the Middle East will be over ineffective. "Continued ASEAN centrality and relevance is considered extremely important by all members. Myanmar's condition threatens this – at least, it's bad PR "
Suu Kyi has jailed and denounced her sentence democratic rule. Amnesty International, which withdrew its highest honor, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Suu Kyi on Sunday.
"Today, we are profoundly dismissed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defense of human rights," said Kumi Naidoo, the rights group's secretary general.
"The particular repatriation of thousands." of Rohingya from Bangladesh back to Myanmar. The United Nations says the conditions are unsuitable for the safe return of the Rohingya to their home country, and the International Crisis Group has warned that the rushed return could trigger violence.
Myanmar's strategic location – on China's southwestern border – has made the country especially important to Washington. Suu Kyi on The Trap of Debt diplomacy – a thinly-veiled reference to China, whose Belt and Road Initiative is seen as a tool to extend the political influence through infrastructure building while
China, Myanmar's neighbor to the north, has signed a $ 1.3 trillion port close to the Indian Ocean.  The United States has been offering alternative to investment from Beijing. Pence emphasizes American commitment to the Asia-Pacific region in his bilateral meetings Wednesday, which included encounters with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.