In a short statement ahead of a US-ASEAN summit, Obama was upbeat about the strong relations between the two aides and vowed to work on the ties beyond summits "on a day-to-day basis".

"We are very much invested in building the capacity, not just of individual nations but between nations so that together we can become stronger and more capable to meet regional and global challenges ahead," he said.

"The United States is committed to strengthening the ASEAN both as an institution and as a community of nations bound by our shared interests and values," he added. Obama also pledged to work with ASEAN on a range of areas, including security, trade, Ebola prevention, education and disaster relief.

Obama's visit to Myanmar, which began on Wednesday, is seen as significant given the Myanmar government's recent reform efforts.

Following reforms launched by the Myanmar government in 2011, the European Union and countries like Canada and Australia lifted sanctions imposed on Myanmar. The US has suspended sanctions but not lifted them entirely.

Obama is expected to holds talks with Myanmar President U Thein Sein. He will also meet opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday in the country's largest city of Yangon.


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