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Burma’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin met South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in Seoul on Thursday to discuss bilateral ties.
They are expected to discuss economic cooperation and ways to boost ties between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), among other issues.
The two countries established diplomatic ties in 1975 but have had a rocky history. In 2005 South Korea ended a long-standing programme to provide development loans to Burma, citing human rights abuses.
But as Burma’s economy opens up after decades of isolation, South Korean companies have proven themselves to be serious contenders in many of the country’s emerging industries. In December South Korean KDB Daewoo Securities announced that it will invest nearly US$200 million in construction in Burma’s former capital Rangoon.
Last month Burma signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to improve agricultural ties and expertise exchange.
Burma is the chair country of this year’s ASEAN summit. Last month Burma hosted its first foreign ministers meeting in Bagan – the first major gathering of the group under Burma’s debut year-long stewardship.
Burma has been a member of ASEAN since 1997, but was previously prevented from playing host to the group’s meetings and summits because of its pariah status in the international community.