United States President Barack Obama will return to Myanmar later this year, a senior State Department official says.
Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns announced the trip in a speech on April 8 at the launch of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York.
Mr Burns said that President Obama will travel “later this fall” to Myanmar, China and Australia to attend a series of regional meetings.
Mr Burns said that President Obama’s planned visit shows an “enduring commitment to enhancing security, prosperity, human dignity, and effective regional architecture across the Asia-Pacific”.
In November 2012 President Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Myanmar when he stopped in Yangon en route to Cambodia to attend the ASEAN Summit.
He held talks with President U Thein Sein and paid a visit to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at her Inya Lake residence before delivering a speech at Yangon University where he said the US had come to extend a “hand in friendship” to Myanmar.
However, the tone of President Obama’s second visit to Myanmar is likely to be somewhat less warm given ongoing human rights concerns and recurring communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims, particularly in Rakhine State.
Mr Burns emphasised that the US is “deeply worried about the violence in Rakhine State and the government’s decision to curtail the activities of humanitarian organisations”.
In May 2013 President U Thein Sein paid a reciprocal visit to Washington, DC where he was welcomed at the White House.