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US Announces Peace Corps Program in Myanmar

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks toward Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (L) during a roundtable with members of parliament and civil society to discuss Myanmar's reform process in Naypyitaw, Nov. 13, 2014.

The United States has announced it will set up a Peace Corps program in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

It is the latest way in which the U.S. has expanded cooperation with the long-isolated Southeast Asian country.

A White House statement said there is no better way for the U.S. to demonstrate its commitment to Myanmar than through such "people-to-people connections at a grassroots level."

It says the first Peace Corps volunteers will arrive in Myanmar in late 2015 and will undergo three months of training before moving to their work sites for two years.

The announcement coincides with a visit to Myanmar by U.S. President Barack Obama, who is attending a regional summit and meeting with the country's leaders. During the visit, Mr. Obama has expressed concern that Myanmar is slowing, or even reversing, its transition to democracy.

The Peace Corps was established in 1961. Since then, it has sent nearly 220,000 volunteers across the world to help in areas including education, health and agriculture. Part of the organization's mission is to promote better understanding between Americans and other peoples.

Myanmar will become the 141st country with a Peace Corps program.

The White House said the announcement "further demonstrates the strong partnership and enduring relationship between the United States and Burma."