US President Barack Obama is sending State Secretary Hillary Clinton to Myanmar (formerly Burma) to pursue what he calls "flickers of progress" in the country that endured five decades of global isolation and military oppression
Meeting with Asia-Pacific leaders in Bali, Indonesia, Obama said he has spoken to Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi who welcomed the planned visit of the Secretary of State. Suu Kyi told Obama she is supporting the US initiative.
Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) has re-registered over the weekend to contest electoral posts in the coming by-elections for vacated parliamentary seats.
Most of the members of the current parliament were members of the military junta that ruled Myanmar for over five decades. Some of them have been appointed in the executive branch of government which resulted in vacancies in the parliament.
Clinton's two-day visit which will start on December 1, would be the first since the military took over the reign of government five decades ago.
"We want to seize what could be a historic opportunity for progress and make it clear that if Burma continues to travel down the road of democratic reform, it can forge a new relationship with the United States of America," Obama said.
Ang Thein of the NLD, said the party welcomes the scheduled visit of Secretary Clinton.
"The visit clearly demonstrates that United States is stepping up its engagement policy," said Aung Thein, a prominent lawyer and a member of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party. "It is better to see Myanmar's political situation on the ground rather than watch from a distance, We welcome the visit."
In a related development Myanmar has been assigned by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to chair its 2014 Summit to be held in Myanmar.
In 2006, Myanmar was not given the chairmanship because of human rights issues including the continued detention of more than 2,000 political prisoners.
Myanmar is a member of ASEAN which consist of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.