Ask Khin Nyunt, the most feared man in Burma's military regime, about political change, human rights abuses and democracy torch-bearer Aung San Suu Kyi and he folds his hands, smiles and says: 'I have no comment.' The shadowy head of military intelligence and a figure often assumed to be the most powerful figure in Burma much prefers to talk about the many rings on his fingers than about the chances of reconciliation with Burma's suppressed opposition. 'This one is for strength and for luck,' the Lieutenant-General told the South China Morning Post in a rare interview, talking of a large star ruby surrounded by nine emeralds, sapphires and diamonds encased in gold. 'They are from Myanmar [Burma]. With this, hopefully I will be a lucky man. I like my rings very much,' he says. Softly spoken, slightly built and well-groomed in a midnight-blue suit and loafers, General Khin Nyunt was yesterday standing on the steps of Hanoi's Ba Dinh Hall, a surprise figure on the fringes of the ASEAN summit. His junta, the recently re-named State Peace and Development Council, is officially represented in Hanoi by Chairman Than Shwe. General Khin Nyunt, who rarely leaves his country, cannot be found on the official invitation list, but is known to have forged close ties with Vietnam over the past two years. When asked if he was worried about widening splits in Southeast Asia between liberal nations and more isolated, secretive states such as his own, he insisted the grouping remained one large happy family. 'I am here to express a feeling of being together with my friends. That is the feeling I am getting. Unity. Solidarity.' He claimed the regional economic crisis had not had a large impact on his country, one of the poorest and most economically isolated in the region. He spoke of a 'strong, long and deep' relationship with China when asked about increased trading, military and aid links with Beijing, but stopped short of describing the relationship as now being Burma's most important.