U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wraps up her historic visit to Myanmar with a meeting Thursday with the face of the country's democratic movement, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The dinner at the U.S. Chief of Mission residence in Yangon will be the first time Clinton will meet the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner. They have spoken on the phone before, a senior State Department official said.
It will be a fitting end to a whirlwind trip - the first in 50 years for an American secretary of state - made possible by the reclusive nation's unexpected steps at democratic reform.
Ruled by a junta since 1962, Myanmar is now under a new president, Thein Sein, who was elected in March.
The new government freed dozens of political prisoners in October.
And on Wednesday, Suu Kyi - herself released from a years-long house arrest in November last year - said she intends to run for parliament.
The developments prompted cautious optimism for the United States, which still refers to the country as Burma - the name it used before the junta took power.
The trip, the White House said, is an indication the time could be right to forge a new relationship between the nations.
"I am here today because President (Barack) Obama and myself are encouraged by the steps that you and your government have taken to provide for your people," Clinton told Sein during a meeting Thursday at the presidential palace in the capital of Naypyidaw.
Sein, in turn, said the trip will enhance cooperation between the two countries.
"Your excellency's visit will be an historic one," he said.FULL STORY