Thein Sein

Myanmar leader begins South Korea visit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2012, 1:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2012, 3:46pm

Myanmar President Thein Sein arrived in South Korea on Monday for a three-day state visit that will focus on economic ties and include a tour of military-related companies.

Thein Sein will hold talks on Tuesday with his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak, the presidential office in Seoul said.

In May, Lee became the first South Korean president to visit Myanmar since a North Korean attempt to assassinate one of his predecessors in Yangon almost three decades ago.

Tuesday’s talks will cover cooperation in trade and investment, resources and energy, infrastructure and construction, officials said, adding that the situation on the Korean peninsula would also be discussed.

Myanmar has maintained close ties with North Korea for decades but, during his visit in May, Lee had secured an undertaking from Thein Sein that his government would refrain from further weapons purchases from Pyongyang.

According to his official schedule, the Myanmar leader will visit a number of unspecified “military-related companies” on Wednesday.

Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – has been emerging from international isolation with sweeping democratic reforms since Thein Sein took power last year after decades of military rule.

Reforms have made Myanmar an attractive destination for investment. It has one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves and big deposits of iron ore, zinc, nickel and other mineral resources.

Last week a South Korean consortium signed an agreement to build a 500,000-kilowatt power plant and electricity transmission networks by 2015 in Yangon’s Tharkayta township.

During a visit to Myanmar in 1983, then South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan narrowly escaped a bomb attack by North Korean agents that left 17 South Koreans dead.