Clinton Makes Landmark Visit to Burma

Posted November 30th, 2011 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has begun a landmark trip to Burma, becoming the first chief U.S. diplomat to visit the country in 50 years.

Clinton arrived in the remote Burmese capital, Naypyitaw, on Wednesday from South Korea, where she told reporters she will determine for herself the current Burmese government's intentions for continuing political and economic reforms.

She discussed what U.S. President Barack Obama said earlier this month were “flickers of progress” from the nominally civilian Burmese government, which took office earlier this year after more than four decades of military rule.

Mr. Obama had said Clinton will explore what the United States can do to support progress on political reform, human rights and national reconciliation in Burma. She is also expected to urge the country's leaders to sever military and nuclear ties with North Korea.

Clinton will meet President Thein Sein on Thursday before travelling to the main commercial city of Yangon for talks with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The United States and other western nations imposed sanctions on Burma's military government in response to its widespread human rights abuses and failure to enact democratic reforms.

Mr. Obama has said that if Burma continues to progress democratically, it can forge a new relationship with Washington. But he warned of continued sanctions if the government fails in that effort.