White House confirms Obama to be first US president to visit Burma, Cambodia

President Obama will travel to Burma and Thailand next week before heading to Cambodia for an annual summit of east Asian nations, the White House announced Thursday.

Obama's trip to Burma had been widely rumored following America's re-establishment of full diplomatic ties over the past year. He will be the first sitting American president to visit both that country and Cambodia.

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“In Burma, the president will meet with President Thein Sein and [opposition leader and human right activist] Aung San Suu Kyi and speak to civil society to encourage Burma’s ongoing democratic transition,” the White House said.

Obama's visit will cap a rapid thawing of relations between the United States and Burma, also known as Myanmar, over the past year as the long-reclusive country has adopted democratic reforms, including legislative elections earlier this year. 

Hillary Clinton became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the country in more than 50 years when she flew to Burma last November and met with the new civilian government and opposition leaders.

The United States has since lifted a number of sanctions imposed after the military regime's crackdown against democracy activists in 1988. And President Sein met with Clinton in New York in September while attending the United Nations General Assembly.

Here is the full statement:

The president will travel to Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon, Burma and Phnom Penh, Cambodia from November 17-20. In Thailand, he will meet with Prime Minister Yingluck to mark 180 years of diplomatic relations and reaffirm the strength of our alliance. In Burma, the president will meet with President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi and speak to civil society to encourage Burma’s ongoing democratic transition. In Cambodia, the president will attend the East Asia Summit and meet with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. During his interactions in the region he will discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, human rights, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern.