Aung San Suu Kyi begins historic overseas trip

Tuesday 29 May 2012 17.15
Aung San Suu Kyi plans to spend four or five days in Thailand
Aung San Suu Kyi plans to spend four or five days in Thailand

Aung San Suu Kyi has arrived in Thailand on her first overseas trip from Burma, officially known as Myanmar, in more than two decades.

Ms Suu Kyi, who last left the former army-ruled nation in 1988, landed in the Thai capital at around 10pm after the short flight from Rangoon.

She is expected to meet the Thai prime minister during her stay in Bangkok and attend the World Economic Forum on East Asia and meet Burma migrant communities during several days in the country.

Speaking just before her departure, Ms Suu Kyi said she "didn't feel anything special" about the landmark foreign trip.

"It's a part of my job. I'm going to stay for four or five days... I will visit one refugee camp," she added, without providing further details.

The democracy icon, who spent 15 of the past 22 years under house arrest, will emerge into a world transformed - the skyscrapers and frenetic activity of Bangkok presenting a stark contrast to her home city of Rangoon.

Ms Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has embraced an increasingly global role as Burma sheds its pariah status under a quasi-civilian government, meeting world dignitaries in Rangoon and accepting overseas invites.

Foreign travel will give her greater access to a global community eager to see her in person and allow her to meet ordinary people as well as world leaders.

Fearful that she would never be allowed to return, Ms Suu Kyi refused to travel abroad in the past, even when the former junta denied her dying husband a visa to visit her from Britain.

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