Skip to comments.US Senator Jim Webb arrives in Myanmar's military capital (A Junket we will go)
Posted on 08/14/2009 12:31:31 AM PDT by Maelstorm
Yangon - US Senator Jim Webb arrived in Myanmar's military capital Naypyitaw Friday for high-level talks with the country's ruling junta that are expected to include a meeting with Senior General Than Shwe, government sources confirmed.
Webb, a Democrat from Virginia who is chairman of the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, flew direct to Naypyitaw, 350 kilometres north of Yangon, in a chartered plane from Vientiane, Laos.
He is scheduled to meet with junta chief Than Shwe at 11 am (0430 GMT) Saturday , a foreign ministry source said.
Webb's trip to Myanmar, part of a five-nation tour of South-East Asia that will also include stopovers in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, comes days after Than Shwe placed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for the next 18 months, commuting a court sentence of three years in prison.
If the meeting with Than Shwe takes place, Webb will be the first senior American official to ever meet the reclusive junta chief who has been head of Myanmar's military regime since 1992.
He is also the first US senator to visit Myanmar, deemed a pariah state among Western democracies, for about a decade.
Webb is a proponent of change in US foreign policy towards Asia, including Myanmar, which has been the target of economic sanctions by Washington since 1990, after the regime rejected the outcome of a general election won by the National League for Democracy (NLD), headed by democracy icon Suu Kyi.
'It is vitally important that the United States re-engage with South-East Asia at all levels,' Webb said in a message posted on his website after his visit to Laos, whose communist leadership sided with the Vietnamese communists against the US military in the Vietnam War (1959-75).
'Our relations with Laos have never been fully repaired since the end of the Vietnam War more than thirty years ago. I look forward to working with Lao officials in order to bring our two countries closer together economically, culturally, and diplomatically,' Webb said.
While in Naypyitaw, Webb is also scheduled to meet with representatives of the NLD, who were invited up to the capital on Friday.
Webb is expected to seek the release of US national John William Yettaw, 54, who was on Tuesday sentenced to seven years in prison with labour for swimming to the house-cum-prison of Suu Kyi on May 3 on a mission to warn her of an assassination attempt he had envisioned.
Myanmar pro-democracy groups have questioned the timing of Webb's visit and cautioned him not to become a tool of the ruling regime.
'We are concerned that the military regime will manipulate and exploit your visit and propagandize that you endorse the trial of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the imprisonment of over 2,100 political prisoners,' said the joint statement sent to the US embassy in Yangon by the All Burma Monks Alliance, 88 Generation Students and All Burma Federation of Student Unions.
Olberman should go there too, and both should stay there.
I’d have more respect for this guy if he flew over Naypyitaw
in the lead aircraft of a stick of B-52 .
Rolling Thunder Part II
Getting in some experience so he can replace Biden?
Anybody but Hilary Bump!
What’s he gonna do - hold a town hall in Rangoon?
Speaking of Biden, where the hell has he been lately? Maybe locked up in the basement?
Fell off the wagon at the beer summit, been on a raging alcoholic bender ever since
My Senator...out of the country during the defining period of our time...by a margin of .5% we threw out Senator Macaca and voted in Senator Kaka...good work Virginia.
Marky Mark Warner has set the date for his town hall meeting, August 24, but not the venue. I wonder why? /s
Webb hasn’t even bothered.
Warner is probably going to have one of those phone my friends townhalls he likes.
Yep and we elected a lying thieving Senator Warner who is going to rubber stamp everything that comes his way for Obama.
I keep hearing about alleged scandals involving Warner. Maybe some of it will end up in the tabloids.
Never will happen. I don’t understand the guys appeal. It was sickening watching how even the conservatives in the media in the state kissed his ass. What makes me steam is that he should have been a dead man walking after his reneging of the pledge not to raise taxes and then raising them over a billion dollars but he ran around the state lying over and over again about the Gilmore administration which left the state with a surplus but Warner and some Republicans wanted to spend more so they did. Warner did not suffer at all but the GOP was hurt considerably because we hold our people accountable. He is the worst kind of politician and it makes me sick that we elected him. He made is money from insider information and contacts with Chris Dodd. Has anyone explored this? No he is the golden boy but he will vote for the Health Care bill and Cap and Trade. Then people will see who they voted for. Just another liberal.
Don’t even get me started about Senator Wormer.
I also fail to understand Warner’s attraction. He reminds me of a door to door salesman.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.