The United States is working to restore diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors with Myanmar after two decades of estrangement but only if Myanmar’s leaders are willing to expand upon some their recent democratic reforms, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said in Myanmar’s capital on Thursday.

"We do see openings today that give us some signs of encouragement," Clinton said during a press conference in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. "We want to see this country take its rightful place in the world."

Clinton said she is hopeful that Myanmar’s leaders will continue to build upon their initial steps toward political equality, but remains unconvinced until there are more similar results. Clinton said Myanmar’s leaders have recently reduced restrictions on the country’s media, rewritten election and labor laws, and released 200 political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi, who is considered Myanmar’s leading reformer for democracy and plans to run in the Myanmar’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

Clinton became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Myanmar in 50 years. She said she had “candid, productive conversations” with Present Thein Sein and other Myanmar ministers, and told them that the United States is ready to support Myanmar with more aid and possibly lift sanctions if Myanmar’s government continues to build upon its recent political reforms.

Clinton urged Myanmar, which is seeking to rise from decades of authoritarian military rule, to take additional steps to release all political prisoners and to reduce ethnic tensions and hostilities.

“But as long as terrible violence continues in some of the world’s longest-running internal conflicts, it will be difficult to begin a new chapter,” Clinton said.

Clinton said better relations with the United States will only be possible if Myanmar implements UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 and stops its suspected dealings with North Korea, which include cooperation on matters related to nuclear and ballistic missiles.

Clinton hopes that with the U.S. commitment coupled with support from organizations in the international community, like the UN, IMF and World Bank will help President Thein Sein convince opponents skeptical of the country’s current path towards democracy.

“Over time, this could become an important channel to air concerns, monitor and support progress, and build trust on both sides,” said Clinton.

Clinton later traveled to Yangon where she visited Shwedagon Pagoda, a revered shrine in Buddhist tradition, and after she met with Suu Kyi at her home, where the activist spent nearly two of the last decades under house arrest imposed by Myanmar’s military regime.