Myanmar president to embark on landmark US visit

Myanmar's President Thein Sein is set to head to the United States on Monday for a landmark visit that coincides with a triumphal American tour by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Thein Sein will attend the United Nations and is expected to outline development plans during his first trip to the US since taking power last year and ushering in a period of rapid reform for his long-isolated country.

"The president will attend the UN General Assembly and will give a speech there," said Zaw Htay, an official in the president's office.

The former general, who last week freed dozens of political prisoners, will have to share the limelight with Suu Kyi, received with acclaim during her first trip to the US since she began her struggle for democracy more than two decades ago.

The Nobel laureate has already been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the top honour bestowed by the legislature, and has met President Barack Obama at the White House since arriving in the country last week.

But US officials have taken pains to ensure her visit does not overshadow that of Thein Sein, who they say deserves credit for Myanmar's breathless pace of change after nearly half a century of junta rule.

In the latest sign of thawing relations, the United States last week lifted sanctions on the Myanmar president and lower house parliament speaker Shwe Mann, removing them from the US Treasury's list of "Specially Designated Nationals".

The pair were put on the list in 2007, when Thein Sein was prime minister and Shwe Mann was joint chief of staff of the armed forces, as America raised pressure on the ruling junta.

Sweeping changes in Myanmar under the new quasi-civilian regime have seen Suu Kyi elected to parliament and included tentative ceasefires with several of the country's major armed ethnic minority groups.

The international community has responded by rolling back tough sanctions against the impoverished country and in July Washington gave the green light for US investment there.

Aung Naing Oo, a Thailand-based analyst for the Vahu Development Institute think-tank, said the latest prisoner release was a "tactical move" to coincide with Thein Sein's trip to the United States, which has long demanded Myanmar free all remaining dissidents.

He said Suu Kyi was unlikely to want to create tension with the Myanmar president during the trip because the government had "reached out" to the veteran activist, who suffered 15 years of house arrest under the junta.

The 67-year-old has used the visit to back the removal of sanctions on Myanmar and underline the remarkable new direction the country has taken.

"There has been change, not yet all the changes necessary to make sure we are going to be a genuinely democratic society, but there have been changes," she said on Saturday in a speech at Queens College in New York.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options