23 Nov 2012

Myanmar president set to visit NZ

10:26 pm on 23 November 2012

Myanmar president Thein Sein is due to visit New Zealand in December following an invitation from Prime Minister John Key.

Mr Key has ended a two-day historic trip to the south-east Asian country, also known as Burma, which has undergone radical social and political reforms over the past 18 months.

He is the first New Zealand prime minister to visit the country which for years has been run by a military junta. Earlier this week, Barack Obama also became the first president from the United States to visit.

Mr Key says the president is expected to visit New Zealand on 13 December.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent nearly 15 years under house arrest before being freed in 2010, has also been invited to New Zealand and is hoping to visit in 2013.

John Key said his brief trip to Myanmar had been very worthwhile.

He says he is taking the changes in Myanmar at face value and will continue to encourage its democratic process.