News / Asia

Burmese Opposition Leader, Clinton Promote Closer Ties

Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (R) greets visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following their meeting at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, December 2, 2011.
Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (R) greets visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following their meeting at Suu Kyi's residence in Rangoon, December 2, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Schearf Report on Clinton visit with Aung San Suu Kyi Dec 2, 2011

Daniel Schearf

Burma’s National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday hosted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for what the veteran activist called "a historic moment" for both Burma and the United States.



Following talks with Clinton at her lakeside home, Aung San Suu Kyi told journalists she hoped the visit, (the first by a U.S. secretary of state in over half a century) would renew ties of friendship and understanding.

She said U.S. diplomacy was helping to push for democracy in Burma.

“It is through engagement that we hope to promote the process of democratization," noted the democracy leader.  "Because of this engagement, I think our way ahead will be clearer and we will be able to trust that the process of democratization will go forward.”

Related video

Washington has shunned Burma since a 1962 military takeover and, in response to rights abuses, maintains economic sanctions.

But President Obama in 2009 began a two-track policy of continued sanctions coupled with engagement.

Some political analysts have characterized the policy as partly aimed at counterbalancing China’s close relations with the government.

The NLD leader said Burma needs help not only from the U.S. but also from other members of the international community.

Aung San Suu Kyi said she was happy to see China’s foreign ministry issue a statement welcoming U.S. engagement with Burma.

“This shows that we have the support of the whole world," she said. "I’m particularly pleased because we hoped to maintain good, friendly relations with China - our very close neighbor.”

Burmese Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's compound in Rangoon, December 2, 2011 (VOA Photo - D. Schearf)
Burmese Democracy Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's compound in Rangoon, December 2, 2011 (VOA Photo - D. Schearf)

The meeting was held at Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside home in Rangoon, a crumbling gray and white mansion where authorities kept her under house arrest for 15 years.

She was released a year ago, just days after the first election in two decades brought a military-backed party to power.

Despite his army roots, President Thein Sein surprised critics by allowing more freedoms, holding direct talks with Aung San Suu Kyi and releasing over 200 political prisoners.

Clinton said recent openings by the Burmese authorities gave grounds for encouragement, and that her visit was intended to explore the path forward, with democracy as the goal.  

“The United States wants to be a partner with Burma," Clinton said.  "We want to work with you as you further democratization, as you release all political prisoners, as you begin the difficult but necessary process of ending the ethnic conflicts that have gone on far too long, as you hold elections that are free, fair and credible.”

Aung San Suu Kyi also stressed more efforts were needed to stop fighting in ethnic minority areas and to establish the rule of law.

“First of all, we need all those who are still in prison to be released and we need to ensure that no more are arrested in future for their beliefs. This is why we put so much emphasis in rule of law," she said. "And I am confident that the United States and our other friends will help us to bring rule of law to this country.”

Clinton said there was much work to be done to develop the country and the U.S. was willing to assist.  She also offered a personal note of praise for Aung San Suu Kyi.

“You have been an inspiration.  But I know you feel that you are standing for all the people of your country, who deserve the same rights and freedoms of people everywhere," Clinton told the democracy leader.  "The people have been courageous and strong in the face of great difficulty over too many years.  We want to see this country take its rightful place in the world.”

On the two-day visit Clinton also met with government leaders including President Thein Sein and urged them to expand on the recent reforms.

Photo Gallery: Aung San Suu Kyi's political career

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs