The US has said it will push for a UN Security Council resolution calling on Burma to change its policies.
The US wants to highlight the plight of Burma's opposition
Campaigners welcomed the US move but Russia, China and Japan indicated they would not support it because Burma did not pose a threat to global security.
The US announcement came after a senior UN envoy, Ibrahim Gambari, gave a closed-door briefing to the Security Council on the situation in Burma.
Mr Gambari met detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi last month.
No-one has pushed for a resolution on Burma at the UN Security Council before.
But the US State Department said after Mr Gambari's briefing on Wednesday that Washington "intends to pursue" such a resolution that would "underscore the international community's concerns about the situation" there.
The concerns included the "unjustifiable detention" of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which was extended by the country's ruling military junta by another year at the weekend, said department spokesman Sean McCormack.
However, the opposition from Moscow and Beijing - who have veto power in the council - makes it unlikely that the resolution will be adopted, correspondents say.
Russia and China argue that human rights is outside the council's agenda of upholding international peace and security.