Secretary of State Kerry in Myanmar to press further reforms

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar (AP) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has begun a brief visit to Myanmar where he will laud the Southeast Asian nation’s transition to democracy but press its new civilian leaders on further reforms.

Kerry arrived in the capital, Naypyidaw, on Sunday less than a week after the Obama administration lifted sanctions against 10 state-run companies and banks in a sweeping modification of penalties imposed while the country was under military rule. The administration, however, left in place restrictions on trade and investment with the nation’s still-powerful military. The changes are intended to spur more U.S. investment and support economic growth under the new government but also to encourage more reforms.

Kerry will meet the country’s foreign minister and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military chief.

Suu Kyi’s political party took office in late March after winning historic elections. But the military retains significant power in government and over the economy.

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