News / Asia

    Obama in Myanmar for ASEAN Meetings

    ASEAN Holds 25th Summit in Myanmar’s Capitali
    X
    November 12, 2014 1:21 PM
    The 25th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is underway. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Myanmar’s capital, Nay Pyi Taw, that the summit opened with the host’s expressions of concern about unfulfilled goals.

    President Barack Obama has arrived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, where regional leaders have opened the annual summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    Obama arrived in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, Wednesday evening as the local magazine Irawaddy published an interview in which the U.S. leader said his hosts have made progress on some political and economic reforms, but also have gone backwards in some areas.

    Other U.S. officials have echoed those views in recent weeks, and Obama is expected to raise those concerns during talks this week with President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    • President Barack Obama and Myanmar President Thein Sein, second from left, pose during the East Asia Summit family photo at the Myanmar International Convention Center, Nov. 12, 2014, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
    • President Barack Obama is greeted upon his arrival on Air Force One at Naypyitaw International Airport, Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 12, 2014.
    • Dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 25th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit at Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 12, 2014.
    • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (5th from left), prepares to pose for a group photo with leaders of ASEAN during the 12th ASEAN Summit at Myanmar International Convention Center in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 12, 2014.
    • A worker pulls a cable at an intersection close to Myanmar International Convention Center, the venue of the ASEAN Summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 11, 2014.
    • Myanmar farmers spread paddy, or unmilled rice, for ventilation, close to the Myanmar International Convention Center, the venue of the 25th ASEAN Summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 11, 2014.
    • President Barack Obama and U.S. Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, leave the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, China, Nov. 12, 2014.


    Obama will first attend the East Asia Summit, beginning Thursday, which is a broader gathering of the 10 ASEAN countries plus eight other nations, including the U.S., China, Russia and India.

    The ASEAN Summit opened with the host’s expressions of concern about unfulfilled goals and with the anthem of the organization - an unfamiliar song to which few of the leaders and Southeast Asian diplomats in attendance could sing along.

    That reflects the current dilemma of ASEAN’s ten members. Some 48 years after its formation, the organization is still trying to define its goals and agree on harmonious policies for a diverse community of more than 600 million people.

    The summit’s host, Myanmar’s president, made note of this in his opening speech.

    Thein Sein cautioned that one year before the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community, which is supposed to create a single market, “challenges remain in implementing the remaining 20 percent of the targets and addressing the issues that will emerge in the post-2015 ASEAN Community.”

    The president also stated ASEAN “needs to play a greater role in the international arena by taking a more united stand in addressing issues of common concern and interest.”

    That was interpreted, in part, as referencing the frustration among some states with the slow pace of finalizing a code of conduct for the South China Sea.

    The Philippines and Vietnam, in particular, have raised strong concern about maritime standoffs in the disputed waters involving Chinese vessels.

    The ASEAN meeting will be followed Thursday by the ninth East Asia Summit.

     


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Babuji from: Mandalay, Burma
    November 12, 2014 11:17 PM
    Obama must inform that the world expects Myanmar authority to respect it's minorities or else!
    In Response

    by: Lin Htet from: Yangon
    November 13, 2014 11:28 AM
    What else ???dont try 2 spread falsehood ,either I myself or majoritynever discriminate a person for color of his/her skin

    by: Thet from: Singapore
    November 12, 2014 7:48 PM
    He must comment on Myanmar. Because he is world leader and can help to Myanmar.

    by: 1stmihican from: USA
    November 12, 2014 10:59 AM
    President Obama should concentrate his effort in foreign relationship and stay away from commenting on the internal affairs of Myanmar.
    In Response

    by: kgyi from: myanmar
    November 12, 2014 12:38 PM
    Yes, that's what we are expecting.

    by: Richard Wangcho from: Burma
    November 12, 2014 10:54 AM
    I believe the visiting US President Barack Obama can persuade the host leaders to open free and fair election in which every citizen can participate.The Myanmar leaders who come from military background ate afraid of possible retaliation from people whom they have jailed or tortured.Countless citizens have died in their bloody hands.
    In Response

    by: NAY from: Yangon
    November 13, 2014 11:47 PM
    I agree that, we want the country leader by the election of all people not by army.Why Obama didn't criticize on that issue related with 2015 election. We,, people are still so suffering under this junta and previous junta.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora