Newly re-elected US President Barack Obama will attend an ASEAN summit in Cambodia on November 18, adding to speculation he may use the opportunity to visit nearby Burma, said Reuters on Wednesday.
According to the report, Cambodia’s Information Minister Khieu Kanharith on Wednesday said that Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin would attend the summit, as well as leaders from China and Japan.
The annual summit of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is usually extended to take in meetings with leaders of partner countries. Preliminary details for this year show the event will run in Phnom Penh from November 15 to 20.
Local and regional media have speculated that Obama would visit Thailand, a staunch US ally, but no official statement has been made.
Writing in Mizzima on Tuesday, Thai columnist Kavi Chongkittavorn said, “The trip to three ASEAN members would be historic, especially for Myanmar. The recent reforms in the former rogue state have won praise the world over—so much so that Obama cannot just ignore them.”
In November 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first US foreign minister in more than 50 years to visit Burma.
The US recently relaxed economic sanctions on Burma, and several leading US firms have sent representatives along with Washington delegations to engage with their Burmese counterparts.