Yangon: Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi and her party will "meet their tragic ends" if they keep up their opposition to an end to Western sanctions, state media warned in a commentary.
The remarks follow a recent statement by Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy (NLD) which argued that the punitive measures were helping to pressure the authorities and had not affected the economy significantly.
It was the first explicit criticism of the Nobel Peace Prize winner by state media since her release after seven years of house arrest in November, days after an election that was denounced by democracy activists and the West.
"If Daw Suu Kyi and the NLD keep going to the wrong way, ignoring the fact that today`s Myanmar is marching to a new era, new system and new political platforms paving the way for democracy, they will meet their tragic ends," said a weekend commentary in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
"Daw" is a term of respect in Myanmar.
"Pointing out that, I would like to invite them to cooperate with the people in building a democratic nation in the interests of the nation and the people," added the article in the junta mouthpiece, signed by Yan Gyi Aung, an apparent pseudonym which means "Conquest of Great Enemy".
The NLD reacted cautiously to the commentary, saying it had not received any official response from the authorities to its statement on sanctions.
Party spokesman Nyan Win said the author of the newspaper article might be writing "for his or her own benefit".
In its statement issued last week, the NLD stressed that any end to sanctions on Myanmar should be linked to an improvement in the junta`s human rights record, notably the release of political prisoners.
The remarks came days after Washington said it was premature to ease sanctions on Myanmar and urged the regime to take more concrete steps.
Suu Kyi`s release reignited debate over the effectiveness of the financial and trade measures, enforced notably by the United States and the European Union in response to the junta`s human rights abuses.
Two pro-democracy parties which took part in the November polls have called for an end to sanctions on the grounds that they do not benefit the wider population.
Suu Kyi`s party has no voice in a newly opened Parliament dominated by the military and its proxies. It was disbanded for opting to boycott the November vote because the rules seemed designed to bar Suu Kyi from participating.