Burma or Myanmar? Obama says both

2012-11-19 15:01
US President Barack Obama waves to the crowd as he leaves the stage after speaking at Yangon University in Yangon, Myanmar. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

US President Barack Obama waves to the crowd as he leaves the stage after speaking at Yangon University in Yangon, Myanmar. (Carolyn Kaster, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Obama, Suu Kyi discuss reform

2012-11-19 11:50

US President Barack Obama and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi discussed reform efforts. Watch.WATCH

Yangon - Some call the country Myanmar, others call it Burma. On his historic trip to the former army-ruled nation on Monday, Barack Obama called it both.

Paying the first visit by a serving US president to Yangon - or Rangoon - Obama broke with American tradition by employing the term "Myanmar" after his talks with President Thein Sein.

"We think that a process of democratic reform and economic reform here in Myanmar that has been begun by the president is one that can lead to incredible development opportunities here," he said as Thein Sein listened.

Later, however, when he met opposition leader and fellow Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi he called the country "Burma" - the preferred name of the nation's pro-democracy activists.

"Today marks the next step in a new chapter between the United States and Burma," Obama said.

The country's military leaders changed the official name two decades ago to Myanmar, saying that the old term Burma was a sorry legacy of British colonialism and implied that the ethnically torn land belonged only to the Burman majority.

Diplomatic courtesy

The opposition and exiles fiercely opposed the change, seeing it as a symbolic step to create an entirely new country, and the United States has stood in solidarity by officially calling the nation Burma.

The White House said after Obama's switch that the US government position was still to refer to the country as Burma.

Obama was paying a diplomatic courtesy to Thein Sein by referring to the country as Myanmar in their meeting, said Ben Rhodes, a US deputy national security advisor.

"The US government position is still Burma but as we have said, different people call this country by different names," he told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama flew to neighbouring Cambodia afterwards for a regional summit.

For Obama, however, the linguistic jujitsu was nothing compared to his troubles pronouncing the name of the opposition leader, whom he repeatedly referred to as "Aung Yan Suu Kyi" as she stood by - minus her usual charismatic smile.

Read more on:    thein sein  |  barack obama  |  aung san suu kyi  |  myanmar
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Note 16GB

GALAXY Note combines the market's largest HD Super AMOLED display,...

From R3899.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.