Myanmar President U Thein Sein is due to leave Yangon on Sunday night to embark on a journey of state visit to South Korea which is believed to further boost bilateral relations and cooperation.
At the invitation of his S. Korean counterpart Lee Myung-bak, Thein Sein is to pay the three-day visit to South Korea, which came a week after his return from a historic visit to the United States on Oct. 1.
U Thein Sein is expected to discuss with Lee in Seoul on expanding ties in trade, investment, energy, development aid and human-to-human exchange. The two leaders will also exchange views on regional affairs and cooperation in global issues.
During Lee's visit to Myanmar in May, he had offered Myanmar expanded loan and aid and increased cooperation on energy and resources development, while U Thein Sein assured Seoul of ceasing to buy conventional weapons from North Korea.
Lee recognized Myanmar's recent efforts toward political change, appraising it for making the right choice in building a new nation with new system, promoting democracy and human rights and making more new friends in the international community.
During the May's visit, the two leaders discussed matters related to strengthening friendly ties, technical assistance for the development of Myanmar, human resources development, finance, economy, education, infrastructure, industrial development, environmental conservation, tourist, transportation, communications, science and technology, and energy and mining.
In a 45-minute meeting then with Aung San Suu Kyi, parliament member and leader of the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), in Yangon, Lee pledged to help Myanmar achieve both democracy and economic development, stressing that democracy should go together with industrial development.
The pair also agreed on the importance of education with Lee vowing to increase loans to Myanmar to help set up an economic policy institute and to invite Myanmar students to study in South Korea.
Since earlier this year, there has been a series of bilateral cooperation activities carried out. In April, an economic cooperation forum between the two countries was held in the capital, joined by a 120-strong S. Korean business delegation from 86 private companies and about 260 Myanmar businessmen.
In June, organized by Business Department of S.Korea, Myanmar and South Korean businessmen met in Yangon involving those from S. Korea Federation of Textile industry and companies from the two sides discussed works related to textile, garment, dying and printing works and raw materials.
In September, a South Korea-Myanmar business forum was launched in Yangon, with participants discussing bilateral cooperation in garment, hotel and tourism, information and technology, agriculture and forestry, gems and automobile sectors.
Later in the month, the 6th Energy and Natural Resources Joint Implementation Committee Meeting between South Korea and Myanmar was held in Nay Pyi Taw. Representatives from the two sides discussed issues related to a joint-venture in Shwe Natural Gas Project, worksite proficiency training course for staff and cooperation for technical development in oil and gas tasks, further cooperation of S.Korean companies in oil and gas projects of Myanmar, cooperation for exploring natural resources, mines refinery for sustainable development in mining sector, hydropower generation, construction for natural gas-fired hydropower plant.
According to official statistics, S.Korea injected a total of 2. 959 billion U.S. dollars as of July 2012 since 1988, standing the 4th in Myanmar's foreign investors line-up.
Bilateral trade between Myanmar and S. Korea reached 970 million U.S.dollars in 2011, according to S.Korean statistics.
Of the total, S. Korea's export to Myanmar amounted to 660 million U.S.dollars, while its import from the Southeast Asian member stood at 300 million dollars.
S. Korea mainly imports from Myanmar garment, textile, forestry products, agriculture and marine products while exporting to Myanmar construction materials, machines, iron and steel.
Myanmar figures show that bilateral trade between Myanmar and S. Korea in the first four months (April-July) of the fiscal year 2012-13 amounted to 158.06 million U.S.dollars.