President Barack Obama on Monday met Burma's President Thein Sein, a former junta member who has spearheaded reforms since taking office in March 2011.
"I recognize this is just the first steps on what will be a long journey," Obama, with Thein Sein at his side, told reporters after talks with the
Burmese leader at Rangoon's old parliament building.
President Thein Sein, speaking in Burmese with an interpreter translating his remarks, responded that the two sides would move forward, "based on mutual trust, respect and understanding".
The trip is intended to highlight what the White House has touted as a major foreign policy achievement -- its success in pushing the country's generals to enact changes that have unfolded with surprising speed over the past year.
Some human rights groups have objected to the visit, saying Obama is rewarding the government of the former pariah state for a job that is incomplete.
The United States has softened sanctions and removed a ban on most imports from Burma in response to reforms already undertaken, but it has set
conditions for the full normalization of relations, such as the release of all political detainees.
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