Skip to main content

Obama plans to visit Myanmar during upcoming Asia trip, White House says

By the CNN Wire Staff
November 9, 2012 -- Updated 0104 GMT (0904 HKT)
A file image shows U.S. President Barack Obama and Myanmar President Thein Sein at an ASEAN meeting in Bali, Nov. 2011.
A file image shows U.S. President Barack Obama and Myanmar President Thein Sein at an ASEAN meeting in Bali, Nov. 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The White House announced that President Obama will visit Myanmar this month
  • Obama's trip is to encourage the ongoing democratic transition there
  • He becomes the first president to visit that country

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama will travel to Myanmar, where he will meet with President Thein Sein and activist Aung San Suu Kyi, on a trip to Asia later this month, the White House said Thursday.

Obama will stop in Myanmar, also known as Burma, during a November 17-20 trip to "speak to civil society to encourage Burma's ongoing democratic transition," according to a news release.

It will be the first time a U.S. president visits the country.

Aid group warns of difficulties treating victims of Myanmar violence

The historic trip comes as Myanmar's new reformist president has created a opening for further democracy there.

Myanmar's displaced detail violence

Under Thein Sein, the Myanmar government has released hundreds of political prisoners in the past year, part of a series of reforms that have followed decades of repressive military rule. Western governments have responded to the efforts by starting to ease sanctions put in place to pressure the military regime.

Rare look inside military-ruled Myanmar

Myanmar authorities have also engaged in peace talks with rebel ethnic groups and allowed Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, to successfully participate in special elections for the national parliament in April.

Suu Kyi emotional journey leaving family

Suu Kyi, a democratic freedom activist who spent 15 years under house arrest, traveled to Washington earlier this year to accept the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal

Myanmar fighting kills 84, displaces at least 22,500

She was kept for the better part of two decades under house arrest for advocating for democracy in Myanmar. The country's former military rulers ordered her detention, and in recent years her case has received an international spotlight. She paid a hefty personal price for standing up for freedom in Myanmar, which suffered under 50 years of autocratic, repressive rule.

Suu Kyi, who was awarded the medal in 2008, freed from house arrest two years later and elected to the Myanmar parliament this year, a historic moment in the country.

More recently, Myanmar has faced unrest between majority Buddhists and the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority.

The unrest began five months ago and has tested the efforts of Thein Sein's administration to seek reconciliation with Myanmar's different ethnic groups and move the country toward more democratic governance.

Q&A: What's behind sectarian violence in Myanmar?

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT