News / USA

Obama: Burma Trip Not Endorsement of Government

US President Barack Obama speaks during a joint media conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House in Bangkok, November 18, 2012.
US President Barack Obama speaks during a joint media conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House in Bangkok, November 18, 2012.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama says his upcoming trip to Burma does not represent an endorsement of the government, but is rather an acknowledgement of the political reform process underway in the country.

Obama said there has been a stated commitment to further political reform in Burma and that deserves encouragement. 

"But I do not think anybody is under any illusion that Burma has arrived, that they are where they need to be," he said. "On the other hand if we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is we would be waiting an awful long time."

He said the goal of his visit is to highlight the progress that has been made, and also to address the steps Burma needs to take in the future.

Obama spoke in Bangkok during a news conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Thailand is the first stop on an Asian visit that will take him to Burma and Cambodia in his first overseas trip since winning re-election nearly two weeks ago.

The trip underscores Obama's increased focus on Asia as he tries to fulfill his pledge to strengthen the U.S. economy during his second four-year term in office. The Obama administration has said American foreign policy and engagement will "pivot" toward Asia in the future.

When he arrives Monday in Burma, Obama will be the first U.S. president to visit the country, which has emerged from decades of tight military control. The Burmese government has recently begun making democratic reforms, but some human-rights groups have cautioned that it is not yet a fully free country.  

President Obama is scheduled to meet with both Burmese President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation's leading democracy activist, who has only been free since 2010, after nearly two decades of detention or house arrest.

The U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch told VOA the president should have waited to travel to Burma until the country makes more progress in restoring basic freedoms.  

Obama also is attending a meeting of regional leaders from ASEAN in Cambodia, another destination where he is expected to raise concerns about long-standing human-rights problems. The president is expected to urge Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to hold free and fair elections and end land seizures.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

Alaskans experiencing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more frequent and extensive wildfires, deteriorating glaciers, and swift shoreline erosion 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.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 19, 2012 7:38 AM
How comes you American judge other country's politcal systems? Don't you think you are a bit busybody? Don't you think it's a none of your business? Why are you so confident? Don't you hold many problembs in your country? Do you welcome judgement to your domestic affairs from third countires? Have you ever thought about virtue of staying humble? Have you ever thought of the possibility that there live people who think more highly of beeing humble than to be assertive? Are you almighty? Don't you have a faith of Cristianity devouting in front of god?

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