Obama will be the first US President to visit Cambodia and Myanmar. The US President will meet Mynamar President Thein Sein and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and will applaud the Asian nation for its efforts to shift towards democracy.
The White House under Obama has ended the long-standing US isolation of the military junta in that country and influenced the men in uniform to effect speedy political reforms. The US has also appointed a full ambassador and suspended sanctions to acknowledge Myanmar's efforts towards releasing political prisoners and also Suu Kyi's election to parliament.
Suu Kyi, it can be mentioned here, was kept under house arrest for a long by the military junta of Myanmar. The US-Myanmar relation has improved in the recent years and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid a visit to Mynamar last December. She was the first US Secretary of State to travel to that country in 56 years.
Exiled Myanmar activists and human rights groups are, however, not happy with Obama's visit and said it was premature. They feel the US was rewarding the Myanmarese rulers before the country's political and economic reforms were consolidated. They said the military establishment in the country is still dominant and engages in rights abuses.
While no US President ever visited Cambodia or Myanmar, Thailand, one of Washington's oldest Asian allies, has served as a stop for American military chiefs since the mid-1960s. Four US Presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and George W Bush also visited the country in the last 46 years.