Thein Sein: Myanmar president to make historic visit to US


Myanmar state media said Monday that President Thein Sein will make a historic visit to the US this month. He will be the first Myanmar leader to visit since 1966.


Nicolas Asfouri

Thein Sein, Myanmar's reformer president, will make a historic trip to the United States in the near future, according to reports on state television.

The visit would mark the first by a head of state from Myanmar, recently called Burma by the international community, in 47 years.

The last leader from the Southeast Asian country to visit the United States was the strongman Ne Win in 1966.

It is still unclear when the visit will take place but the US State Department said that a visit is planned for this month. US-ASEAN Business Council said it would be holding a dinner for Sein next Monday.

GlobalPost in-depth: Myanmar emerges

In November, US President Barack Obama made the first trip of a sitting American leader to Myanmar.

The visit, along with the lifting of sanctions, was considered an olive branch to the Myanmar government as it shifts towards more democratic rule.

Thein Sein was elected Myanmar's leader in 2011 after decades of authoritarian rule.

He has since released political prisoners, eased censorship, opened the political field and liberalized the economy.

Some say that Washington has moved too fast in rewarding Myanmar's leadership, particularly given the communal violence taking place against minority Muslims.

The government, some believe, could do more to prevent the attacks in the Rakhine province.