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Aung San Suu Kyi Willing to Run for President

  • VOA News

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a town hall meeting hosted by Amnesty International in Washington on September 20, 2012.

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a town hall meeting hosted by Amnesty International in Washington on September 20, 2012.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she is courageous enough to run for president - if that is what the people want. The Nobel prize laureate spoke Monday during a news conference at the headquarters for her National League for Democracy.

Burma's constitution currently prohibits her from holding the country's top office but Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters that may not be an obstacle for much longer.

"I'm a leader of a political party," she said. "As a political party leader, I also have to have the courage to be president. If that is what the people want, I will do so. Regarding this issue, the constitution can be amended in the parliament. To amend the constitution has been one of our policies since we ran in the by-elections. We will keep trying to amend it - not only for me to be president; we will also amend other things."

Aung San Suu Kyi recently returned to Burma after spending more than two weeks touring the United States.

Her comments come with Burmese President Thein Sein out of the country -- in South Korea for a state visit. Thein Sein's stop in Seoul is the latest step in his ongoing effort to rehabilitate his country's image and the economy. On Monday, he visited a worker training center in Seoul.

"I thank South Korea for helping Myanmar and training our people," he said. "I hope that South Korea will continue to help and take good care of my country.''

The three-day visit will include a summit with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and meetings with South Korean business leaders.

The United States and other countries have been lifting trade sanctions against Burma in response to reforms by the country's military-backed government, making the resource-rich southeast Asian nation a prime candidate for investment and development. But trade is not the only item on the agenda.

An official in South Korea's Office of the President, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in an interview with VOA's Korean Service that Lee will also raise the issue of Burma's military ties to North Korea.

Burma has long been criticized for its suspected military relationship with North Korea. Earlier this year, the president said Burma would comply with a United Nations Security Council resolution which prohibits supplying Pyongyang's weapons programs with arms, money, training, or other assistance.

President Thein Sein's trip comes about five months after Lee became the first South Korean president to visit Burma in almost 30 years.

Before Lee, the last South Korean president to visit Burma was Chun Doo-hwan, who narrowly escaped a 1983 assassination attempt in Rangoon by North Korean commandos.
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