Burma is forcing the newly expanded ASEAN into its first stand-off with the European Union. The EU would stand by its warnings on keeping Rangoon out of a key co-operation pact with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, diplomats said last night. The move reflected European anger at the ruling military junta's continued abuses, diplomats said. Burma, admitted into ASEAN this week, will be the only member from the grouping excluded from the pact. But any exclusions are expected to spoil preparations for next year's Asia-Europe summit in London, because Britain leads the anti-Burma crusade within the EU. ASEAN Secretary-General Ajit Singh claimed he was confident growing European-Southeast Asian ties would not be affected, but confirmed the Burma issue still had to be dealt with. 'This is the first shot from the EU side and we will have to consider this now that Myanmar [Burma] is a member. We will need to address this in the near future,' he said. Mr Singh said the United States and Canada also had concerns about Burma 'and we have to also sit down and discuss this'. ASEAN pledges that 'constructive engagement' is the best way to deal with the dictatorship failed to impress the EU and the US. The co-operation agreement was first hammered out in 1975, but needs to be updated. Burma will get its first taste of EU opposition tonight when its representatives attend a dinner as the newest member of the Asian Regional Forum, a fledgling security body. Britain is understood to have told its diplomats not to even speak informally to State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) officials at any function, despite ASEAN membership. The High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur, David Moss, earlier snubbed a flag-raising ceremony on Wednesday to mark Burma's entry into the grouping and sent a lower-ranking official instead. Britain has been working to build political and military ties with all other ASEAN states, but leads EU opposition to the Burmese junta. SLORC has kept Aung San Suu Kyi, Oxford-educated and with a British husband, and her democracy party from power since elections eight years ago. London long ago halted on non-humanitarian aid to Burma and refuses to sponsor trade promotions. Except for Burma and Laos, the other ASEAN members are part of the Asian component of the Asia-Europe Meeting which holds a summit every two years. Britain has stressed ASEAN membership does not mean an automatic invitation to the meeting. The Burmese authorities prevented the US non-profit Pearl Buck Foundation from presenting its 'woman of the year' award to Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, executive director Meredith Richardson said in Bangkok yesterday.