US Senator Jim Webb gave a press conference here in Bangkok yesterday after the completion of Webb’s visit to Myanmar. During the trip, the Virgina Democrat met with the recently-convicted Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the country’s top general, Than Shwe. Webb also secured the release of American John Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years of hard labor for swimming across a lake, uninvited, to Suu Kyi’s house in May.
In speaking to the media about the trip, Webb stressed his commitment to engaging Myanmar over time. Webb said that the sanctions against Myanmar have increased the country’s isolation and driven it into the arms of China.
Webb also said that Yettaw’s actions were “regrettable” and that the Missouri native is “not a well man.” However, Webb said that Yettaw was not a “mean spirited human being.” Webb said that Yettaw was undergoing a medical review here in Bangkok, but declined to say what will come next for Yettaw.
Here are some news stories:
- NY Times: “American Held in Myanmar Is Released”
- AP: “Myanmar release of US man could thaw relations”
- WSJ: “U.S. Prisoner Leaves Myanmar: Release, Secured by Sen. Jim Webb, Fuels Debate Over Role of Private Missions”
- Bloomberg: “Webb Wins Release of U.S. Activist, Urges Freedom for Suu Kyi”
- AFP: “Suu Kyi US ‘guest’ given medical treatment: embassy”
- AP: “American Gets Medical Tests After Myanmar Jailing