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S. Korea to discuss with Myanmar on inking investment guarantee pact

2013/06/13 22:38

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to discuss signing an investment pact with Myanmar next week, officials said Thursday, in Seoul's latest attempt to make inroads into the resources-rich Southeast Asian country.

A high-level South Korean delegation led by Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok will meet with its Myanmar counterpart for their first talks on economic cooperation on Wednesday in Naypyidaw, the Myanmar capital, the officials said.

The meeting comes eight months after leaders of the two countries __ former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Myanmar President Thein Sein __ agreed to negotiate a possible investment guarantee pact, which will lay the foundation for a greater economic cooperation.

Since assuming power in 2011, Thein Sein has made sweeping democratic reforms after decades of military rule, bringing dramatic changes that made Myanmar, previously known as Burma, an attractive investment destination.

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

The South Korean officials also said they are pushing to win a deal to build an international airport in the Southeast Asian country.

Incheon International Airport Corporation submitted its bid to build the new Hanthawaddy International Airport that the South Korean officials say could handle 10 million passengers a year.

In April, South Korean President Park Geun-hye appealed to Myanmar for a favorable reception of South Korea's involvement in the country. She met with Myanmar's parliamentary speaker during his visit to Seoul.

The Myanmar lawmaker said he will welcome South Korea's business involvement in his country and promised support. He also expressed hope that the economic cooperation would lead to the development in energy, construction, electricity and agriculture sectors, Park's office said in April.

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

entropy@yna.co.kr

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