Nightly News   |  November 18, 2011

Obama: ‘Flickers of progress’ in Myanmar

In a major foreign policy announcement, President Obama said his administration will renew diplomatic conversations with the isolated government of Myanmar, formerly Burma. NBC’s Chuck Todd has more.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Overseas tonight, President Obama made big news today on his tour of the Asian Pacific region, with an announcement about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton . Our chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd had a chance to speak with Secretary Clinton earlier today. Tonight he is traveling with the president.

CHUCK TODD reporting: The president showed up in the vivid colors of a traditional Balinese shirt for the official photo with Asian leaders. Mr. Obama has tried to keep the focus on the jobs crisis back home, today joining officials from Boeing to tout the sale of 230 US-made aircraft to an Indonesian airline.

President BARACK OBAMA: Our workers back home are going to be able to have job security and be able to produce an outstanding product made in America .

TODD: And in a major foreign policy announcement, the president said his administration will renew diplomatic conversations with the isolated government of Myanmar , formerly Burma .

Pres. OBAMA: After years of darkness, we've seen flickers of progress in these last several weeks.

TODD: Hillary Clinton will visit the country next month, the first secretary of state to go there in more than 50 years. In an interview with NBC News , she says the country must do more for a full restoration of relations.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON: They have to release all political prisoners. I mean, that just is a condition. They have to have a real electoral system with an open door to political parties and free expression.

TODD: On Syria , another country with a fledgling democratic movement, Clinton was blunt in her assessment of the growing violence.

Sec. CLINTON: Yes, I think there could be a civil war with a very determined and well-armed and eventually well-financed opposition.

TODD: She all but ruled out a Libya -like solution with a Western coalition to help out in the fight.

Sec. CLINTON: There is no appetite for that kind of action vis-a-vis Syria . Libya was a -- was a unique situation.

TODD: As for her daughter's new career here at NBC News . I got to ask about my new colleague.

Sec. CLINTON: Yes. Yes.

TODD: What did you think when she said, 'I want to become a member of the fourth estate, this side of the line here?

Sec. CLINTON: Well, I was -- I was a little surprised. But, you know, she decided to go for it and I'm very excited for her.

TODD: The president heads to Guam after the summit and returns to Washington on Sunday. Chuck Todd , NBC News, Bali.