MALMO, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 31:  Pope Francis gives a speech during the 'Together in Hope' event at Malmo Arena on October 31, 2016 in Malmo, Sweden. The Pope is on 2 days visit attending Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration in Lund and Malmo.  (Photo by Michael Campanella/Getty Images)
Pope Francis arrives in Myanmar
01:52 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Pope Francis is visiting Myanmar and Bangladesh

The Rohingya crisis will likely be Pope's main focus

CNN  — 

Pope Francis has arrived in Myanmar, becoming the first pope to ever visit the southeast Asian nation.

The world’s most high-profile Christian takes center stage in a staunchly Buddhist country accused of horrifying acts of brutality against its Rohingya Muslim minority.

The Pope has previously decried violence against the Rohingya, calling them his persecuted “brothers and sisters.”

Experts warn that this trip will require balancing a uniquely complicated set of humanitarian, diplomatic and religious questions. Even his own cardinal has advised the Pope to steer clear of the word Rohingya for fear of stalling his message of reconciliation before it has even begun.

Pope Francis is greeted by young children in traditional clothes upon his arrival at Yangon's airport in Myanmar.

Aaron Connelly, research fellow at Australia’s Lowy Institute, told CNN there was little chance the Pope’s visit to Myanmar was going to be a “generic Papal visit.”

“Clearly the thing that motivated this visit was always a desire to talk about the Rohingya,” he said.

“The question is … is he going to do that in a way which is less confrontational and engages?” Connelly added. “Or is he going to say, this is outrageous, these people have a right to be in Myanmar?”

Pope Francis prepares to leave the airport.

More than 623,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border to Bangladesh since August 25, when a new outbreak of fighting began between Myanmar’s military and