Myanmar president to make landmark state visit to US

Featured South East Asia - May 14th, 2013
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President Thein Sein will soon make a landmark state visit to the United States, the first such trip by a leader of Myanmar in almost half a century, state media reports.

Although the planned visit has no set date yet, it will be a breakthrough for the former isolated country since a quasi-civilian government began to drive the country towards democratization.

Thein Sein flew to New York in September and addressed the UN General Assembly following a series of visits to Myanmar by US officials including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reports AFP.

The reformist leader has won international acclaim for rapid reforms in the country, including the release of hundreds of political prisoners and relaxing censorship on media.

The West has lifted most of its sanctions on the Southeast Asian nation as a reward, paving the way for foreign investments in the country. President Barack Obama hailed the “dramatic transition” under way in Myanmar, during his first visit to the country in November.

Thein Sein’s visit is expected to be controversial due to a surge in violence in the country between Buddhists and minority Muslims that has killed dozens and left thousands homeless.