The highest-ranking US diplomat to visit Burma (Myanmar) since 1995 met with junta officials and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Wednesday. The visit is part of the White House's bid to engage the regime.
Aung Hla Tun/Reuters
BANGKOK, THAILAND – A senior US diplomat met with Burma’s (Myanmar’s) detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Wednesday during a visit to the military-ruled country. The US has tried for years to isolate it with economic and political sanctions, but now also seeks to engage.
Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, the State Department’s top Asia official, is finishing a two-day “fact-finding” mission to Burma, part of a tentative détente between the countries. He met Tuesday with Prime Minister General Thein Sein and was also due to meet leaders of ethnic-based and other political parties, Reuters reported.
In recent months, the Obama administration has pushed a policy of engagement with Burma, while sticking to a trade embargo and other punitive measures. It continues to call for the release of Ms. Suu Kyi, who has spent much of the past two decades under house arrest in Rangoon, the former capital.
Mr. Campbell was photographed Wednesday by Suu Kyi’s side after a two-hour meeting. He isn’t expected to comment publicly before returning to Washington, though his deputy Scot Marciel, who is part of the mission, is due to speak Thursday in Bangkok. Campbell is the highest-ranking US administration official to visit Burma since then-UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright's visit in 1995. [Editor's note: ]