NEARLY three months after the surprise release of democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, much of Asia seems prepared to overlook the Burmese military junta's refusal to make even the most modest move in the direction of national reconciliation. Opposition leaders continue to exercise restraint, declining even to mark the seventh anniversary of previous pro-democracy protests. Despite this, the regime is becoming more intransigent - it has, for instance, resumed jamming of the BBC World Service and seeks to prevent ambassadors of neighbouring nations meeting Aung San Suu Kyi. The Burmese Ambassador to Thailand has ruled out a 'dialogue with anybody', and the rubber-stamp National Convention is continuing to write a new constitution. Much of the region appears oblivious to all this. Japan is anxious to resume yen loans to Burma. The invitation for military intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Khin Nyunt - generally considered the most powerful member of the junta - to pay his first official visit to Thailand marks another step in the regime's path towards international respectability. Yet there is no reason why this should be happening. As Aung San Suu Kyi has said, her release from house arrest marks only 'a very small step' forward. A government confident enough to allow this should feel able to engage her in dialogue. By prematurely embracing Burma's rulers, Asian nations only make it less likely the junta will feel any need to do so.