Washington: Myanmar is making "real changes" towards reforms but much more needs to be done, including the release of detained political prisoners, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

"It appears that there are real changes taking place on the ground, and we support these early efforts at reform. We want to see the people of Burma able to participate fully in the political life of their own country," Clinton said after the APEC Ministerial Meetings in Hawaii.

"There is a substantive dialogue under way with Aung San Suu Kyi, important legislative initiatives including a new labour law and changes to political party registration law," she said.

"But we know there must be much more done. We are concerned about the human rights situation, the political prisoners who are still in long-term detention," Clinton said.

"We continue to call for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and an end to the violence in ethnic minority areas. We urge the government to be more transparent in its relationship and dealings with North Korea," she said, adding that the US is encouraging Naypyidaw to take steps towards political reform, to bring more openness and transparency.

"We believe that the Burmese people share the same universal values that all people are entitled to, and therefore we want to see the encouraging signs continue and strengthen a transition to a broader political dialogue and eventually the kind of democratic and open society that we think would benefit the people of Burma," Clinton said.

Clinton also pointed out that the Special US Representative for Burma, Derek Mitchell, and the Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, Mike Posner, had visited Naypyidaw and Rangoon last week.

"They met with a wide range of senior government officials, opposition leaders, representatives of civil society, and they reported back what we are seeing, not only from our own interactions but based on reports from other officials from other countries," Clinton said.

Among the changes Washington wants to see in Myanmar is the inclusion of the National League for Democracy, led by democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, into the political system.

Suu Kyi's party overwhelmingly won a 1990 general election, but the army refused to hand over power, instead repressing Suu Kyi and other activists.