Asia

Myanmar or Burma? Take your choice, Suu Kyi tells diplomats

  • Myanmar Foreign Affair Minister Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a meeting with diplomats at the ministryof Foreign Affairs, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi met Friday with foreign diplomats at her Foreign Ministry. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

    Myanmar Foreign Affair Minister Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a meeting with diplomats at the ministryof Foreign Affairs, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi met Friday with foreign diplomats at her Foreign Ministry. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Scot Marcie, U.S Ambassador to Myanmar, attends a meeting with Myanmar Foreign Affair Minister Aung San Suu Kyi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi met Friday with foreign diplomats at her Foreign Ministry. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

    Scot Marcie, U.S Ambassador to Myanmar, attends a meeting with Myanmar Foreign Affair Minister Aung San Suu Kyi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi met Friday with foreign diplomats at her Foreign Ministry. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Myanmar Foreign Affair Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives to attend a meeting with diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi met Friday with foreign diplomats at her Foreign Ministry. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

    Myanmar Foreign Affair Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives to attend a meeting with diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Friday, April 22, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi met Friday with foreign diplomats at her Foreign Ministry. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)  (The Associated Press)

Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has made clear to foreign diplomats: It doesn't matter if they call her country Myanmar, or its old name, Burma.

Suu Kyi gave her position Friday in a speech to the foreign diplomatic corps. She is the government's de facto leader in the specially created post of state counsellor, but concurrently is foreign minister.

Democracy supporters in Burma balked when the then-ruling military in 1989 renamed the country Myanmar. The military in turn was irritated when activists and their supporters abroad — including many Western governments — insisted on sticking with the old name.

Suu Kyi told the diplomats it was up to them what name to use because the constitution doesn't mandate either name.