YANGON Nov 8 U.S. President Barack Obama plans
to visit Myanmar on Nov. 19 and meet both his counterpart, Thein
Sein, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, a senior
government source in the Southeast Asian country said on
Obama's visit would be further strong endorsement by the
international community of Myanmar's transformation under the
quasi-civilian government of Thein Sein, who took office in
March 2011 to end half a century of military rule.
Obama would be the first serving U.S. president to visit
Myanmar, also known as Burma.
"So far as I understand, President Obama is coming to
Myanmar on Nov. 19 and he will meet both President U Thein Sein
and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, of course on separate occasions," the
government official told Reuters, using honorifics and asking
not to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the
Neither the government nor the U.S. embassy would confirm
The United States suspended sanctions on Myanmar this year
in recognition of the political and economic changes under way,
and many U.S. companies are looking at starting operations in
the country, located between China and India, with abundant
resources and low-cost labour.
In November 2011, Hillary Clinton became the first U.S.
secretary of state to visit in more than 50 years.
Obama has sought to consolidate ties and reinforce U.S.
influence across Asia in what officials have described as a
policy "pivot" toward the region as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Myanmar grew close to China during decades of isolation,
reinforced by Western sanctions over its poor human rights
record, but is now seeking to expand relations with the West.
Obama met Suu Kyi during her visit to the United States in
September. President Thein Sein was also there in September for
the General Assembly of the United Nations but the two men did
Suu Kyi, who spent years in detention under the military as
the figurehead of the pro-democracy movement and was elected to
parliament in April, will be in India just before the mooted
date for Obama's visit to Myanmar.
"She is leaving for India on a week-long visit on November
12 but I am not sure when exactly she will be back," Nyan Win,
an official of her National League for Democracy party, told
Obama is coming to Southeast Asia to attend meetings in
Cambodia centred around an annual summit of the 10-country
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is usually
extended to take in leaders of partner countries.
Preliminary details for this year show the event will run
from Nov. 15 to Nov. 20 20 and the Cambodian government has said
Obama will be in the capital, Phnom Penh, on Nov. 18. The U.S.
administration has not confirmed that.
The heads of government of China, Japan, Russia and other
countries are also expected in Cambodia for the meetings.
Thai media has said Obama may also visit Thailand, like
Myanmar an ASEAN member, while he is in Asia, but that could not