President Barack Obama said on November 18 that he saw "flickers of progress" in Myanmar and dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit the isolated country next month to explore new ties.
He said the release of political prisoners, relaxing of media restrictions and signs of legislative change in the past few weeks were "the most important steps toward reform in Myanmar that we've seen in years."
"We want to seize what could be a historic opportunity for progress and make it clear that if Myanmar continues to travel down the road of democratic reform, it can forge a new relationship with the United States of America," Obama said.
Myanmar is now ruled by a civilian government after an election last year that was meant to hand over power after nearly five decades of military rule.
Clinton's visit will be the first by a US secretary of state for more than 50 years. She will travel to Yangon and the capital Naypyitaw and "explore whether the United States can empower a positive transition in Myanmar and begin a new chapter between our countries," Obama said.