Obama is confident of a "new day" in Myanmar
U.S. President Barack Obama says he is confident of a "new day" in Myanmar, but says there is work yet to be done to reform the Southeast Asian country.
President Obama made his comments Thursday during a meeting with top leaders, including President Thein Sein and longtime democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
Mr. Obama is in the middle of a two-day visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, which is emerging from decades of authoritarian military rule.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes says Mr. Obama plans to raise concerns over the pace of political reforms and human rights during a one-on-one meeting Thursday with President Thein Sein.
A nominally civilian government took power in 2011, ending direct military rule but exposing deep-seated problems, including the treatment of the country's ethnic minorities.
Rhodes says Mr. Obama also will bring up the issue of the Rohingya, a mostly Muslim group that is denied citizenship and faces a wide range of other restrictions.
Mr. Obama on Friday will travel to Yangon, where he will meet separately with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition lawmaker.
The visit is taking place during a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
It is the first time that Myanmar has hosted the annual summit.
In remarks to the summit Thursday, Mr. Obama said he is looking forward to building on what he said is a strong partnership between the U.S. and ASEAN.
US, India Reach Food Subsidy Deal
The United States and India have announced an agreement to resolve a dispute about food subsidies that has held up the ratification of a global trade pact.
World Trade Organization delegates approved the trade deal last December, seeking to streamline customs rules and cut the cost of shipping goods around the world.
The pact needed approval of all 159 WTO members, but India declined to ratify it because of concerns about a clause that restricts the size of food subsidies governments could provide.
The White House issued a statement Thursday saying the U.S. and India agreed on a provision that calls for WTO members not to challenge the subsidy programs until they agree on a "permanent solution" to the matter.