Yangoon: South Korean President Lee Myung Bak will on Tuesday meet democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi in the first trip by a South Korean leader to Myanmar since North Korea attempted to assassinate one of his predecessors almost 30 years ago.
Ahead of his meeting with Suu Kyi, the South Korean leader met with Myanmar President Thein Sein and pledged greater economic support while discussing ways to curtail the former Southeast Asian dictatorship’s military ties with North Korea.
Lee offered expanded loans and aid during yesterday’s meeting in the capital of Naypyidaw and the two leaders agreed to increase cooperation on energy and resource development according to a statement from Lee’s office.
Thein Sein asked Lee to set up a redevelopment program in the former capital of Yangon, according to a South Korean presidential official speaking on condition of anonymity.
The visit highlights South Korea’s effort to seek a stake in the energy-rich nation as it moves away from five decades of military rule and opens its markets.
“Myanmar is welcoming South Korean investment and aid because it needs to have a balanced and diversified sources of aid to reduce economic risk,” said Choi Myeong Hae, senior research fellow at Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul.
“Lee’s visit reinforces how much South Korea values Myanmar as a strategic center and definitely boosts opportunities for South Korean businesses.”