Suu Kyi to make first foreign trip since 1988

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will travel overseas next week for the first time in more than two decades to attend an economic forum in Bangkok, her party said on Thursday.

The former political prisoner's plan to leave her homeland for the first time since 1988 is the latest sign of dramatic political change sweeping through the country, where decades of outright military rule ended last year.

"She will go to the World Economic Forum (on East Asia) in Thailand," said Nyan Win, a spokesman for the Nobel laureate's National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

The gathering of senior government officials and business leaders from around the region is being held from May 30 to June 1 at a luxury hotel in the Thai capital.

Nyan Win said Suu Kyi would arrive in Bangkok on May 28 but was unable to give more details about her planned activities.

The announcement came as several NLD members were detained in Pyay town north of Yangon for questioning over Myanmar's first major protests in years.

They were later released, but the government warned those who have demonstrated against power cuts in several cities including Yangon and Mandalay in recent days to stay within the law.

The rallies, the first since a deadly crackdown on monk-led protests in 2007, are being closely watched as a test of the new quasi-civilian government's tolerance of public discontent.

Myanmar President Thein Sein, who is credited with a string of political reforms since taking office last year, will also attend the Bangkok forum, according to a government official who did not want to be named.

Suu Kyi was released from seven straight years of house arrest in November 2010 and has now been issued with a passport, enabling her to travel abroad for the first time in 24 years.

She also plans to go to Europe, where she will address an International Labour Organization conference in Geneva on June 14.

After that she will make a speech in Oslo on June 16 to accept the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991 for her peaceful struggle for democracy, according to the Nobel Committee.

Her British husband Michael Aris, who died in 1999 while she remained imprisoned, and her two sons had accepted the Nobel medal on her behalf.

Suu Kyi also intends to travel to Britain, where she lived for years with her family, and has been given the rare honour of addressing the country's parliament on June 21.

Oxford University announced on Thursday that Suu Kyi, who studied there in the 1960s, was to be awarded an honorary doctorate in civil law while in Britain.

The daughter of Myanmar's independence hero General Aung San was thrust into the limelight as protests broke out against the junta while she was visiting her homeland to care for her sick mother in 1988.

The military crushed the demonstrations and in July 1989 placed Suu Kyi under house arrest.

Despite her confinement, the NLD won a landslide victory in 1990 elections, but the junta did not recognise the result.

She spent much of the two decades since then locked up in her Yangon home and has not set foot outside Myanmar, fearing that the generals would prevent her from returning.

Now 66, Suu Kyi was released in November 2010, just days after another controversial election won by the military's political allies.

But since then Thein Sein, a former general, has won international praise for releasing hundreds of political prisoners and welcoming Suu Kyi and her party back into mainstream politics.

Myanmar's relations with the international community have improved dramatically since his nominally civilian government took over.

In response the international community has begun to roll back sanctions against the impoverished country.

On Thursday the US State Department, in its 2011 human rights report, hailed the changes but said much remained to be done to implement reforms.

Suu Kyi herself Thursday voiced caution, saying reforms had started to "bear buds" but not yet yield fruit.

She made the comments in a video message to the graduating class of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, which presented her with an honorary degree.

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.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options