U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says there is hope that reforms in Burma could spark a movement for change in the country that benefits its people.
Clinton told reporters in South Korea Wednesday that she will determine for herself the current Burmese government’s intentions for continuing political and economic reforms.
She is traveling to Burma Wednesday after attending a global aid conference in South Korea. Clinton’s landmark three-day visit is the first by a U.S. secretary of state in 50 years.
She is scheduled to meet with Burmese President Thein Sein as well as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
U.S. President Barack Obama said earlier this month he was sending Clinton to Burma in response to what he called “flickers of progress” from the new, nominally civilian Burmese government, which took office earlier this year after more than four decades of military rule.
Mr. Obama said Clinton will explore what the U.S. can do to support progress on political reform, human rights and national reconciliation in Burma.
The United States and other western nations imposed sanctions on the military government in response to its widespread human rights abuses and failures to enact democratic reforms.
Mr. Obama has said that if Burma continues to progress democratically, it can forge a new relationship with Washington. But he warned of continued sanctions if the government fails in that effort.