Obama journeyed to this storied tropical outpost of pagodas and jungles early today to “extend the hand of friendship" as a land long tormented by repression and poverty begins to throw off military rule and emerge from decades of isolation.
Obama arrived as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar with the hope of solidifying the stunning changes that have transformed this Southeast Asian country and encouraging additional progress toward a more democratic system. With the promise of more financial assistance, Obama vowed to “support you every step of the way."
The president was greeted on a mild but muggy day by students in white and green uniforms who lined the road from the airport — and by further promises of reform by the government, which announced a series of specific commitments regarding the release of political prisoners and the end of ethnic violence. While Obama planned to stay just six hours, his visit was seen here as a validation of a new era.
He made a point of not only scheduling a meeting at the government headquarters with President Thein Sein but also a personal pilgrimage to the home of the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, where she was confined under house arrest for most of two decades before her release two years ago.
— New York Times News Service