Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thein Sein to visit South Korea

Thursday, 04 October 2012 11:41 Mizzima News

Burma’s President Thein Sein will pay a state visit to the Republic of Korea in the near future, the state-run press reported on Thursday. The date for the trip was not announced.

Burmese President Thein Sein, right, and Lee Myung-bak, the South Korean president. Photo: Burmese government

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited Burma in May, the first by a South Korean leader since an assassination attempt on a Korean delegation by North Korean commandos nearly 30 years ago in Rangoon.

South Korea is an investor in Burma’s energy and other sectors, and Korean businesspeople are eyeing Burma's textile and clothing industry.

In September, Burma and South Korean officials discussed the Shwe Natural Gas Project and other issues at the 6th Energy and Natural Resources Joint Implementation Committee meeting in Naypyitaw.

Topics focused on the Shwe Natural Gas Project, a support system for the exploration of natural resources, mines, energy refineries, the construction of a natural gas-fired hydropower plant, and cooperation on technical development in oil and gas projects.

The Shwe Gas Project is a large-scale natural gas project being developed by Daewoo International Ltd. of South Korea, which holds a 51 per cent stake, Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS), ONGC Videsh Ltd. of India, and GAIL Ltd. of India, in a joint venture with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), according to the Earthrights website.

Daewoo has been exploring for gas in Burma since 2000, and it discovered the Shwe gas field in western Burma in the Bay of Bengal in 2004.

Shwe gas will be transported through a 1,200 kilometre overland pipeline from Arakan State, Burma, to Yunnan Province, China, in partnership with a Daewoo-led consortium. The project is scheduled to become operational in 2013, according to reports.

In 1983, then-South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan was nearly killed by a team of North Korean assassins while he visited the Myartyr’s Mausoleum in Rangoon.

A bomb blast killed 21 people, 17 of them South Korean, including four Cabinet ministers and the South Korean ambassador. Chun was not hurt because he arrived a few minutes late for a ceremony to pay tribute to Gen. Aung San, the country's slain independence hero.

Three North Korean agents were arrested for the attack. One blew himself up while being arrested, a second was hanged in prison and a third died inside Yangon's infamous Insein Prison in 2008.

After the bombing, Burma’s then-dictator Ne Win severed diplomatic relations with North Korea, but those ties were restored in 2007.

South Korea is the fourth-largest foreign investor in Burma after China, Hong Kong and Thailand with a total investment of US$ 2.67 billion for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, according to the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development.

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