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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to Visit US Next Week


Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, right gestures to Myanmar's Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, to move in closer for the group hand shake as Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, watches during the opening ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN summits at National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, right gestures to Myanmar's Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi, to move in closer for the group hand shake as Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, watches during the opening ceremony of the 28th and 29th ASEAN summits at National Convention Center in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016.

Myanmar's new civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, will visit the U.S. next week as Washington considers lifting or easing more of the sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation.

President Barack Obama announced the visit during a speech in Laos Tuesday, saying the Nobel Laureate will be in Washington on September 14 and 15.

Aung San Suu Kyi's visit to Washington is intended to reinforce her status on the global stage as the de-facto leader of the government. Although she won decisively in last November's elections, Aung San Suu Kyi is banned from the presidency by the constitution drafted by the former junta. She instead serves as foreign minister and has created a new position of state counselor.

Obama is expected to determine the extent of sanctions relief after consulting with Aung San Suu Kyi about how far she wants Washington to ease pressure on Myanmar's powerful military. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and symbol of democracy helped convince the U.S. to impose sanctions on the military-led government during her years as a jailed opposition leader.

She is now attempting to show her country the economic rewards of a democratic transition while maintaining pressure on the country's military leaders for additional reforms.

Some rights groups like Human Rights Watch are opposed to easing sanctions against Myanmar until there is evidence the democratic transition is irreversible.

The U.S. wants to strengthen relations with Myanmar to help counteract China's increasing influence in Asia. Washington also wants to help U.S. businesses position themselves in one of the world's last "frontier markets," which are rapidly growing but less developed emerging economies.

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