TOYAKO, Japan (AFP) — US President George W. Bush on Sunday renewed his call for Myanmar’s military regime to free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest. Bush said he intended to raise concerns about Myanmar as he opened talks in Japan ahead of a summit of the Group of Eight major powers starting on Monday.

“I’m deeply concerned about that country,” Bush told a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, the host of the summit. “And we urge the regime to free Aung San Suu Kyi,” Bush said.

The junta, defying international pressure, in May extended the house arrest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who has spent most of the last 18 years confined to her home. The military government also came under criticism for waiting weeks before accepting international relief workers after Cyclone Nargis, which left more than 138,000 dead or missing when it pounded ashore on May 2.

“Their response to the recent natural disaster was unwarranted, at best,” Bush said.

The Group of Eight includes Britian, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.