Obama's words were aimed at countering critics who say his trip to the country also known as Burma is premature. While Myanmar has undertaken significant reforms, hundreds of political prisoners are still detained and ethnic violence has displaced more than 100,000 people.
The president says his goal in visiting Myanmar is to highlight the steps the Asian nation still needs to take. He says he also wants to congratulate the people of Myanmar for having "opened the door" to being a country that respects human rights and political freedom.
Obama spoke Sunday during a news conference with Thailand's prime minister.