President Barack Obama to make historic Myanmar visit: White House


US President Barack Obama stands by Burma President Thein Sein as they participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Nusa Dua on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, Nov. 19, 2011.


Saul Loeb

US President Barack Obama will make history by visiting Myanmar as part of his Asia tour later this month, according to BBC News, citing the White House. 

The newly-elected US leader will be the first to visit American president to visit the nation, where he will meet his counterpart as well as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said BBC. The visit comes as part of Obama's November 17-20 Asia tour. 

"President Obama is coming to Myanmar on November 19 and he will meet both President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, of course on separate occasions," Reuters quoted a Myanmar government official as saying.

Officials in Thailand and Cambodia had announced plans for visits by Obama that week.

According to Agence France-Presse, Obama is set to travel to Phnom Penh to attend the East Asia summit, an annual gathering of leaders of Southeast Asian nations and regional partners, including China and Russia. 

The US eased economic sanctions on Myanmar after Thein Sein has introduced a series of reforms, including democratic elections that saw Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, who spent years in detention under the military, elected to parliament in April. 

AP said many US companies are interested in investing in the country. 

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Hillary Clinton travelled to the country in in November 2011, marking the first visit by a US secretary of state in more than 50 years. 

Meanwhile, Thein Sein visited New York in September to speak to the UN General Assembly, becoming the first Myanmar leader to do so.

And Suu Kyi visited the US at the same time, meeting with Obama.

Ohn Kyaing, a spokesman for the opposition leader's National League for Democracy, told AFP:

"We welcome his visit. We are also glad that he won the election. He met with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Washington during her visit and was very knowledgeable about Myanmar."