Sunday, April 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Obama opens landmark visit to Myanmar

Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton

U.S. President Barack is presented with flowers as he arrives at Yangon International Airport in Yangon, Myanmar, on Air Force one, Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. This is the first visit to Myanmar by a sitting U.S. president. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Launching a landmark visit to long shunned Myanmar, President Barack Obama said Monday he comes to “extend the hand of friendship” to a nation moving from persecution to peace. But his praise and personal attention came with an admonition to those in charge: The work of ensuring and protecting freedoms has just begun.

On an overcast and steamy day, Obama touched down Monday morning, becoming the first U.S. president to visit the Asian nation also known as Burma. Tens of thousands of people in the long repressed country packed the streets to see his motorcade speed through the city. Many of them waved American flags and took photos with their smartphones.

After meeting with President Thein Sein, who has orchestrated much of his country’s transition to democracy, Obama said the reforms “in Myanmar” could unleash “the incredible potential of this beautiful country.”

Obama’s language alone was significant. The United States still officially refers to the country as Burma, after the former ruling junta summarily changed the name years ago to Myanmar. But U.S. officials — and now Obama — have been less rigid about using the old name as relations change.

Obama will also meeting with longtime Myanmar democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi in the home where she spent years under house arrest, a gated compound with a lawn ringed by roses.

Obama will close with a speech at the University of Yangon, praising the country’s progress toward democracy but urge further reforms.

“Instead of being repressed, the right of people to assemble together must now be fully respected,” the president said in speech excerpts released by the White House. “Instead of being stifled, the veil of media censorship must continue to be lifted. As you take these steps, you can draw on your progress.”

Obama’s visit to Myanmar was to last just six hours, but it carries significant symbolism, reflecting a remarkable turnaround in the countries’ relationship.

Obama has rewarded Myanmar’s rapid adoption of democratic reforms by lifting some economic penalties. The president has appointed a permanent ambassador to the country, and pledged greater investment if Myanmar continues to progress following a half-century of military rule.

In his speech, Obama recalls a promise he made upon taking office — that the United States would extend a hand if those nations that ruled in fear unclenched their fists.

“Today, I have come to keep my promise, and extend the hand of friendship,” he said. “The flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished. They must become a shining North Star for all this nation’s people.”

Some human rights groups say Myanmar’s government, which continues to hold hundreds of political prisoners and is struggling to contain ethnic violence, hasn’t done enough to earn a personal visit from Obama. The president said from Thailand on Sunday that his visit is not an endorsement of the government in Myanmar, but an acknowledgment that dramatic progress is underway and it deserves a global spotlight.

Obama came down the steps of Air Force One next to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in recognition of their final foreign trip together. Clinton is leaving the job soon.

The president’s stop came between visits to Thailand and Cambodia. His Asia tour also marks his formal return to the world stage after months mired in a bruising re-election campaign. For his first postelection trip, he tellingly settled on Asia, a region he has deemed the region as crucial to U.S. prosperity and security.

Aides say Asia will factor heavily in Obama’s second term as the U.S. seeks to expand its influence in an attempt to counter China.

China’s rise is also at play in Myanmar, which long has aligned itself with Beijing. But some in Myanmar fear that China is taking advantage of its wealth of natural resources, so the country is looking for other partners to help build its nascent economy.

Even as Obama turned his sights on Asia, widening violence in the Middle East competed for his attention.

Obama told reporters Sunday that Israel had the right to defend itself against missile attacks from Gaza. But he urged Israel not to launch a ground assault in Gaza, saying it would put Israeli soldiers, as well as Palestinian citizens, at greater risk and hamper an already vexing peace process.

“If we see a further escalation of the situation in Gaza, the likelihood of us getting back on any kind of peace track that leads to a two-state solution is going to be pushed off way into the future,” Obama said.

As for Myanmar, as he seeks to assuage critics, Obama has trumpeted Suu Kyi’s support of his outreach efforts, saying Sunday that she was “very encouraging” of his trip.

The White House says Obama will express his concern for the ongoing ethnic tensions in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, where more than 110,000 people — the vast majority of them Muslims known as Rohingya — have been displaced.

The U.N. has called the Rohingya — who are widely reviled by the Buddhist majority in Myanmar — among the world’s most persecuted people.

The White House says Obama will press the matter Monday with Thein Sein, along with demands to free remaining political prisoners as the nation transitions to democracy.

The president will deliver his speech at a university that was the center of the country’s struggle for independence against Britain and the launching point for many pro-democracy protests. The former military junta shut the dormitories in the 1990s fearing further unrest and forced most students to attend classes on satellite campuses on the outskirts of town.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Hop to it: Couple lights up home, yard for Easter

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1

 
Bay Area makes growth plans

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

Supervisor candidates vary on Plan Bay Area

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Earth Day means cleanup Day for Suisun City

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

Ranking the best Bay Area athletes

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
The Edge hosts Easter egg hunt

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

Alooma Temple keeps children in mind

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Fairfield author to speak at women’s expo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Piano scholarship competition set in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
The resurrection has changed the lives of Christians

By Perry W. Polk | From Page: C3

 
Armijo graduate completes basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

 
Understanding your health insurance

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: D4, 1 Comment

 
Record Store Day a commercial hit

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Easter egg hunt brings out the smiles

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. joins Fairfield coffee corridor

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7, 7 Comments | Gallery

City sets plan to dispose of property assets

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Counties tell Brown they need money for his law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
San Francisco probe leading to entrapment claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Exhibit recreates Warhol’s 1964 World’s Fair mural

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Documents detail another delayed GM recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

13th body pulled from snow in Everest avalanche

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
At barricades, Ukraine insurgents await Easter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Official: 3 bodies retrieved from inside ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13 | Gallery

 
Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Question of the week: Will Flight 370 be found?

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

Neighborhood speeders don’t get it

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

 
Why would a person do this?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
Sound off for April 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Government … for the government?

By Bill James | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

 
 
Jeb Bush, love, and today’s GOP

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Book details lives of cloistered nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Bill Nye says he underestimated debate’s impact

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3, 10 Comments

Horoscopes for April 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: D4

 
Pete spends weekends at my house but he never invites me to his

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: D4

.

Entertainment

Tartt, Goodwin finalists for Carnegie medals

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
New book on fracking illuminates pros, cons

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Sports

A’s score 3 in 9th, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Warriors beat Clippers 109-105 in playoff opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings, Sharks look to put Game 1 in past

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stults, Padres hand Giants third straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Williams scores 24 as Nets beat Raptors 94-87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Durant leads Thunder past Grizzlies 100-86

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hawks take 1-0 lead by rolling past Pacers 101-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raptors GM Ujiri uses profanity about Brooklyn

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Federer beats injured Djokovic to reach final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Rapids, Earthquakes play to scoreless tie

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Travis Bowl Highlights

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Jimenez leads Langer by 1 shot in Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Stars Recreation bowling results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Big names among prospective Buffalo Bills buyers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians set two new school records for track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Wie shoots 67, wins LPGA LOTTE Championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Award-winning archery champ shoots with his teeth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Survivors keep busy as Boston Marathon approaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Business

US delays review of contentious Keystone pipeline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Subscription sample boxes shake up beauty routines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Girls from modest families get lift in technology

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Haunted house part of San Antonio apartment lofts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

 
Recalls this week: lanterns, exercise devices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B13

Review: Siri-like Cortana fills Windows phone gap

By The Associated Press | From Page: B14

 
.

Obituaries

Ramon Isidro

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Rogelio Tinoco-Zamudio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

James Leroy Barbour

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
William Paul Wehrly

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Margaret Elizabeth Silva

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Lloyd G. Hoffmeister

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics