It is something many expected never to see, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, setting foot in Myanmar. It is the first visit by a US secretary of state in more than 50 years.

Barak Obama, the US president, said he sanctioned the visit - because of what he described as "flickers of progress" by Myanmar's new leadership.

Recent reforms in the country - the release of some political prisoners, the easing of press restrictions and the lifting of a ban on trade unions - have surprised many observers.

Analysts say Clinton's trip comes at the time when the US is turning its focus to Asia, a move that is widely seen as an effort to counter Chinese influence in the region.

In this show we ask: Will Clinton's trip encourage Myanmar's rulers to continue down the path of democracy? Do the reforms in the long-isolated country indicate a real willingness to change or are they just window dressing? What are the challenges ahead?

Inside Story with presenter James Bays discusses with guests: Maung Zarni, a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics; Richard Weitz, a Senior Fellow and the director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute; and Maitrii Aung-Thwin, an assistant professor of Southeast Asian History at the National University of Singapore.

Source: Al Jazeera