News / Asia

Thein Sein: Burma ‘Now Part of Family of Nations’

Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012. Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.
x
Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.
Burma's President Thein Sein addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
— Burma's president said his country is on an irreversible path toward democracy and is ushering in a new era as a member of the family of nations.  

Thein Sein, a former general-turned-civilian, was sworn in as Burma's president just 18 months ago, and said he is guiding his country away from its authoritarian past towards democracy.

Most recently, his actions have been rewarded with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement that Washington would begin easing the decade-old restrictions on the import of Burmese products into the United States.

"And in recognition of the continued progress toward reform and in response to requests from both the government and the opposition, the United States is taking the next step in normalizing our commercial relationship," said Clinton.

At the United Nations Thursday, President Thein Sein alluded to international sanctions.

“Myanmar should be viewed from a different and new perspective," he said. "It is also necessary for us to be able to work in more conducive and favorable environment than ever before.”

Myanmar is the other name by which Burma is known.

Thein Sein listed his government’s accomplishments, including freeing hundreds of political prisoners, holding free and fair elections and ending restrictions on the media and allowing access to the Internet.

He said equally important to his government’s efforts to implement political and economic reform have been attempts to reconcile conflicts with the country’s many ethnic groups.

“We have so far achieved cease-fire agreements with 10 armed groups, while further strengthening confidence-building measures we will continue the peace talks," Sein said. "National-level peace negotiations will then continue toward a final peace agreement that would completely end the armed hostilities.”

Burma's president also acknowledged recent violence in the western Rakhine state between Rakhine Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims that has claimed nearly a hundred lives. He said all people in Burma have a right to live in peace and security. He said a commission made up of Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus is investigating the events and would submit their findings and recommendations to him.

The president’s New York trip coincides with a 17-day tour of the United States by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now a member of Burma’s parliament.

While some have said the democracy icon’s visit would deflect attention from Thein Sein’s U.N. debut, he did not seem to mind, congratulating her on her work and the recognition she has received for promoting democracy.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid