The Straits Times
Published on May 03, 2013

Myanmar leader Thein Sein 'plans historic Washington visit'


WASHINGTON (AFP) - Myanmar President Thein Sein plans a landmark visit to Washington this month in a sign of US support for his reforms despite a recent surge in anti-Muslim violence, a source said on Thursday.

Mr Thein Sein, who would be the first leader of the country to visit in half a century, is planning to be in the United States capital around May 20 or May 21, a staff member at the US Congress told AFP on condition of anonymity. The trip may include a summit with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Administration officials declined immediate comment but had previously said they were studying a visit by Thein Sein.

The source said the US was considering as another gesture a change in US policy to call the nation Myanmar, the leaders' preferred usage, and not the previous name of Burma, which is used by exile groups.