During his whirlwind trip to Asia, President Obama told General Thein Sein, Myanmar's prime minister, to release jailed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The two leaders appeared together at a meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations, a summit in Singapore. Previously, the U.S. has boycotted the meeting because of Burma's presence. In front of the cameras, the two leaders did not shake hands. Direct talks would have been the first time in 43 years that a U.S. president had met a Burmese leader. According to the BBC, the fact that Obama was willing to sit at the same table as the leader of the Burmese military junta signals a new American desire for engagement with the region.
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