The Straits Times
Published on Sep 24, 2012

Myanmar president leaves for historic US tour


YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar's President Thein Sein headed to the United States on Monday for a landmark visit that coincides with a triumphal American tour by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mr Thein Sein will attend the United Nations General Assembly and is expected to outline plans for the future of his fast-changing nation during his first trip to the US since taking power last year and ushering in a period of rapid reform.

"The trip will open a new chapter with the international community," Mr Zaw Htay, an official in the Presidential Office told AFP of a visit that marks the latest step in dramatically thawing relations with the US, which has started rolling back sanctions against the former pariah.

"He is expected to explain the reform process of the country including what the government has done and what it is going to do," said Mr Zaw Htay, adding that the president was set to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as other senior US, European and UN officials. Mr Thein Sein set off from Yangon on Monday evening, according to a government official.