President Obama will make a groundbreaking visit later this month to Burma, an official said today, following through with his policy of rapprochement to encourage democracy in the Southeast Asian nation. Security for a visit on Nov. 18 or 19 has been prepared, the official said, but the schedule is not final. He added that Obama would meet with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as government officials including reformist President Thein Sein.
US officials have not yet officially announced the visit, which would be the first to Burma by an American president. The most senior US official to visit was Hillary Clinton, who last December became the first US secretary of state to travel to Burma in 56 years. Officials in nearby Thailand and Cambodia have already informally announced plans for visits by Obama that same week. Cambodia is hosting a summit meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and Thailand is a longtime close US ally.