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Burma to Highlight Obama Southeast Asia Tour

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Burma Expected to Highlight Obama Southeast Asia Tour

In his first overseas trip since winning reelection, President Barack Obama is scheduled to leave Washington on Saturday, November 18, for Southeast Asia. The trip will include the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to Burma and Cambodia. VOA senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports.

Burma to Welcome Obama for Historic Visit

Barack Obama is set to become the first U.S. president to visit Burma on November 19, in what is seen as encouragement for President Thein Sein's reforms. But human-rights groups say the visit comes too soon because Burmese reforms are fragile and oppression continues in Kachin and Rakhine states. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Rangoon.

Will Burma's forests survive as the country opens its doors to the world?

~~~ ... Now, as Burma cautiously embraces democracy and opens up to the world — President Obama will visit the country next week, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to do so — a key question is what impact an influx of outside capital and foreign expertise will have on the country's wild lands, biodiversity, and natural resources. The sanctions imposed by Western governments in response to the military dictatorship's brutal human rights record arguably helped to preserve Burma's remote areas by denying access to credit and foreign investment that would have otherwise been used for road building in the northern jungles.

But with Western governments now lifting sanctions to reward the government's democratic reforms, some experts warn that an influx of foreign capital might open the floodgates to development and cause significant environmental harm. In a bid to expand regional trade routes, for instance, both the Chinese and Japanese governments are making plans to open transportation corridors through some of Burma's far-flung jungles, paving the way for resource exploitation. The economic might of China, just to the north, is ever-present. ~~~ ...

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I wish the best of luck for President Obama in his goodwill tour of a new fledging democratic government in Burma (or Myanmar). The country sits on a load of huge mineral wealth to put in its lacklusting coffers of a poor economy, the military dictatorship was shunned worldwide lead to these previous economic and political sanctions. The Burmese people are friendly and hospitable to visitors, so the US president will be glad he came.

Edited by Tsa-La-Gie Oyate

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