Myanmar president to make visit to South, talk with Lee

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Myanmar president to make visit to South, talk with Lee

Myanmar President Thein Sein will make a state visit to South Korea next week for talks with President Lee Myung-bak about economic cooperation and regional issues, the presidential office said yesterday.

The Myanmar president’s trip, set for Monday to Wednesday, follows Lee’s landmark visit in May to the Southeast Asian nation that has been emerging from international isolation with sweeping democratic reforms since Thein Sein took power last year after decades of military rule.

Lee was the first South Korean president to visit Myanmar since North Korea’s 1983 terrorist bombing that ripped through a Yangon memorial and killed 17 South Koreans, including Cabinet ministers.

Lee and Thein Sein will hold a summit on Tuesday to talk about expanding cooperation in trade and investment, resources and energy, infrastructure and construction, as well as development assistance and other issues, the presidential office said in a release.

The regional situation and ways to cooperate on global issues will also be discussed, it said.

Thein Sein’s trip also includes a meeting with major South Korean business lobbies and a visit to industrial facilities.

Democratic reforms have made Myanmar an attractive destination for investment.

About three times the size of the Korean Peninsula, the country has one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves and big deposits of iron ore, zinc, nickel and other mineral resources.

Korea is Myanmar’s fourth largest foreign investor as of December last year, with its annual $2.94 billion investment. China, Thailand and Hong Kong are the three largest investors.

Though one of the world’s poorest nations, with an annual per capita income of $700, Myanmar has a high literacy rate and could provide cheap, quality labor for companies.

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