Thursday, November 08, 2012

President Obama To Travel To Burma

President will visit Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, Nov. 17-20...
Making his first international trip since being reelected to a second term, President Obama will travel to Asia from Nov. 17-20, with stops in Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, the White House formally announced on Thursday.  In Burma, the President is scheduled to meet with President Thein Sein and democracy activist and member of Parliament Aung San Suu Kyi, who met with Mr. Obama at the White House in September. (Above, Suu Kyi, center, with the President, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and First Dog Bo in the Oval Office)

The visit is a historic first for any US president, and President Obama will "speak to civil society to encourage Burma’s ongoing democratic transition," the White House said.

Suu Kyi was under house arrest by Burma's military government for fifteen years before her release in 2010, and Burma has moved rapidly to institute democratic reforms.  The President during his three-nation swing will also attend the East Asia Summit in Cambodia, and he will "discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, human rights, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern," according to the White House.

The full White House statement on the President's trip:

"The President will travel to Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon, Burma and Phnom Penh, Cambodia from November 17-20. In Thailand, he will meet with Prime Minister Yingluck to mark 180 years of diplomatic relations and reaffirm the strength of our alliance.

In Burma, the President will meet with President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi and speak to civil society to encourage Burma’s ongoing democratic transition.

In Cambodia, the President will attend the East Asia Summit and meet with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

During his interactions in the region he will discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, human rights, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern."

*Photo by Pete Souza/White House, taken on September 19, 2012, in the Oval Office.