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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    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