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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   16 July 2013  

Thein Sein leaves for Europe

President Thein Sein left Myanmar Sunday for a visit to Britain and France, an official said, as the former junta general looks to build on support for his much-lauded reforms.

"The president left Yangon this morning to visit Britain and France," a government official told AFP without giving further details of the visit, Thein Sein's second trip to Europe in months.

Another official earlier said the trip would be from July 14 to 18.

Thein Sein visited several European countries in March -- although not Britain or France -- to bolster relations.

The former general has surprised the international community by overseeing sweeping reforms since taking the presidency in 2011.

Those changes include freeing hundreds of political prisoners and welcoming democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party into parliament.

The European Union, which had already ditched most sanctions except an arms embargo, has readmitted Myanmar to its trade preference scheme, saying it wanted to support reform in the once-pariah state through economic development.

Washington has also lifted most embargoes and foreign companies are now eager to enter the resource-rich nation, with its perceived frontier market of some 60 million potential consumers.

Barack Obama paid a first-ever US presidential visit to Myanmar last November, and Thein Sein visited Washington in May.AFP

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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