Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar on Monday, praising the courage of fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi while also providing a symbolic nod to initial reforms in a nation once notorious for political repression.

Later Monday, Obama held what an aide called a "tense"meeting with Cambodia's prime minister that emphasized the need for improving human rights in the nation hosting a summit of regional leaders.

The president's trip, his first since winning re-election, overshadowed the focus his administration will place on Asia in a second term as part of a strategy to blunt Chinese influence in the region.