US President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Myanmar began on a high note as he lauded the ‘irreversible’ political changes underway in the country, saying that its people could now “see and taste freedom”.

“Something is happening in this country that cannot be reversed,” Mr. Obama said in his address. “You, the citizens of this country are the ones who are going to define what freedom means”.

Mr. Obama addressed the military men in the audience, most of whom are now part of the new civilian government. “The US has the strongest military in the world, but it must submit to civilian control,” he said.

He also called a halt to the ensuing ethnic violence which has killed hundreds of Muslim Rohingyas and displaced thousands of families.

The US President is the first sitting leader to visit the once isolated nation as it emerges from decades of military rule. Ahead of of his speech, Mr. Obama met with President Thein Sein who spearheaded sweeping economic and political reforms across the country, including the release of political prisoners, as well as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, Financial Times reports.