YANGON - Myanmar took a swipe at the United States on Saturday for calling the country Burma, urging it to use its official title and avoid harming improving ties between the two former foes. In a response to a press statement issued by the US embassy in Yangon on the conflict in northern Kachin state, the Foreign Ministry said Washington should be following most countries and the United Nations and call it Myanmar. The issue has struck a chord with the civilian-led government, which has won the recognition of the international community following political, social and economic reforms introduced after it replaced an oppressive military junta in March 2011.

“Myanmar strongly objects to the usage of the words ‘Burma’, ‘Burmese government’ and ‘Burmese military’ in the US embassy’s press release and not using the name recognised by the United Nations and the whole international community,” the ministry said in a statement carried in state-controlled newspapers. It said US President Barack Obama had called the country Myanmar during his landmark visit late last year, so the embassy should follow his example. After decades of bitterness, ties between Myanmar and the United States have started to thaw since the new government embarked on reforms and freed hundreds of political prisoners.