Myanmar president visits Thailand

Myanmar's president Sunday made his first official trip to Thailand since taking power in a visit likely to focus on economic ties between his reforming nation and its more affluent neighbour.

Thein Sein arrived in Bangkok for a three-day trip that will include talks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday expected to cover development and infrastructure investment for impoverished Myanmar.

The visit marks "a significant milestone of Thai-Myanmar relations", according to a statement from Thailand's foreign ministry.

It is a chance to strengthen ties, "particularly those in support of Myanmar's ongoing economic reform and development efforts for the benefits of both countries and the region as a whole", it said.

Thailand has fostered long-standing economic ties with its neighbour and -- along with China and other regional nations -- became a key trading partner with Myanmar during years of isolation under junta rule.

But reforms under Thein Sein have triggered a dramatic thawing of relations with the West, which has begun to dismantle strict sanctions against the resource-rich country, amid hopes for a resurgence of its economy.

This month the United States gave the green light to US companies to invest in Myanmar including in oil and gas, in its broadest and most controversial easing yet of sanctions, as foreign firms eye potentially lucrative opportunities in the country's energy sector.

Thein Sein, who took the presidency of the new quasi-civilian government last year, on Sunday inspected the Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chonburi, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Bangkok, on Thailand's Gulf Coast.

Doubts have emerged over a Thai-backed multi-billion-dollar deep-sea-port development in Dawei, on Myanmar's southern Andaman coast, after Thein Sein's government announced it was blocking a coal-fired plant that was to be built at the site.

Thein Sein will also meet representatives of Thai industry and agriculture during his trip, including the heads of energy giant Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) and industrial conglomerate Siam Cement.

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific Chief Economist at IHS Global Insight, said Thailand was in a strong position to invest in tourism, healthcare and manufacturing in Myanmar and to assist the country in developing its crippled banking industry.

He said other nations would begin to grow their presence in the country but "it will still be China and Thailand that are very much in the lead because they have the connections and are on the ground already".

Talks between Thein Sein and Yingluck are expected to include the fate of dozens of Thais arrested across the border and held on charges of land encroachment.

Thailand's huge population of Myanmar migrants is also expected to be discussed, with Naypyidaw attempting to improve living conditions for its workers, who are often vulnerable to exploitation.

Thein Sein delayed a visit to Bangkok in late May that clashed with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's appearance at the World Economic Forum on East Asia held in Bangkok, in her first overseas excursion for over two decades.

Suu Kyi stole the show at the forum, urging "healthy scepticism" over Myanmar's dramatic reforms, saying only the rule of law could cement recent political progress and foster clean investment.

The Myanmar leader again postponed the trip in early June.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • US ambassador slashed and bloodied in Seoul attack
    US ambassador slashed and bloodied in Seoul attack

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed on his face and arm in Seoul on Thursday by a blade-wielding assailant opposed to ongoing US-Korean military drills. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which left the ambassador bleeding profusely as he was rushed to hospital, and said that President Barack Obama had spoken with him. Witnesses described how a man with a blade concealed in his right hand had lunged across a table at Lippert at a breakfast function at …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options