Nightly News   |  December 01, 2011

Clinton meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar

Hillary Clinton is the highest ranking U.S. visitor in more than 50 years in Myanmar. She came to judge for herself reforms that are bringing unexpected change after decades of repressive military rule. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

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

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now, we go to a place we hardly ever see, Myanmar . It's been one of the most isolated, repressive regimes on Earth . That may now be changing. And because of that, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on an extraordinary visit there, meeting some extraordinary people, including a Nobel Prize recipient who recently captured the attention of the world. NBC 's Ian Williams is there.

IAN WILLIAMS reporting: Until just a few weeks ago, this would have been inconceivable. The US secretary of state in Myanmar tonight meeting Aung San Suu Kyi , persecuted for years here for her pursuit of democracy, but now planning to run for Parliament . Hillary Clinton is the highest ranking US visitor in more than 50 years, here to judge for herself reforms that are bringing unexpected change after decades of repressive military rule. Censorship has been eased, political prisoners released, and restrictions on protests have been lifted. The changes and Clinton 's visit are generating enormous hope here.

Ms. AYE AYE NYEIN (National League for Democracy): I hope that it is a good visit to change in Burma .

I. WILLIAMS: The changes are all the more remarkable when you consider it's only been a year since Suu Kyi was released from house arrest where she spent 15 of the last 22 years. Clinton met the leaders of what has been regarded as a pariah state , welcoming the changes but urging them to speed up the release of political prisoners and embrace further reform.

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON: I told the leadership that we will certainly consider the easing and elimination of sanctions as we go forward in this process together.

I. WILLIAMS: They met in the isolated, almost surreal new capital of Naypyidaw , built from scratch in the middle of nowhere . Its vast eight-lane highway is almost deserted. Until recently it was off limits to Westerners. There have been promises of reform here in the past, but Myanmar 's leaders may not have decided that bringing their isolated and impoverished country in from the cold really is in their best interests. Ian Williams , NBC News, Yangon.