Obama in landmark SE Asia visit by chathuragw1986


									18 November 2012 Last updated at 09:23 GMT Barack Obama waves to media
after his arrival at Don Muang airport in Bangkok on November 18 Barack
Obama wants to refocus his foreign policy on Asia Barack Obama has begun
a tour of South East Asia, which will include a historic visit to Burma.

Mr Obama landed in Thailand's capital Bangkok on his first foreign trip
after his re-election as president.

On Monday he will become the first US president to visit Burma, which has
been praised in the West for freeing hundreds of political prisoners and
holding its first contested election.

Mr Obama has been trying to refocus US foreign policy towards Asia.

Analysts say the US is trying to counter the dominating influence of
China in the region.

But US officials have repeatedly insisted that they want to work with

During his Thailand visit Mr Obama will meet Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra and King Bhumibol, the world's longest-serving monarch.

In Burma, he is due to hold talks with President Thein Sein and
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
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    Campaigners are asking why such an important visit had to happen so
soon, apparently before Mr Obama's people had secured any concessions
from the Burmese government”

End Quote image of Jonathan Head Jonathan Head BBC News, Rangoon Over the
past year the US and other Western nations have relaxed the slew of
sanctions they had imposed on Burma, which was ruled by a brutal military
regime for five decades.

But Mr Obama's aides told reporters aboard the president's plane that the
US still had concerns about the extent of recent reforms.

Ethnic conflicts remain unresolved, including an increasingly bitter
confrontation between Muslim Rohingyas and Buddhist Rakhine people in
Rakhine state.

And US officials said they had been seeking assurances that Burma had
distanced itself from North Korea, after accusations emerged in 2010 that
the two states were sharing nuclear technology.

Some human rights groups have criticised the president for rewarding
Burma, even though reforms are nowhere near complete.

Burma has released hundreds of political prisoners but still holds about
300, according to rights groups.
In an amnesty last week some 450 prisoners were freed, but none were on
the list of political detainees.

After visiting Burma, Mr Obama will head to Cambodia to join a meeting of
the regional bloc Asean.

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