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Thein Sein arrives in Manila for trade talks with Aquino

Burmese President Thein Sein arrived on Wednesday in the Philippines where he is set to hold a bilateral meeting with President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang Palace.

The two leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss “trade and investment, agriculture, energy, cultural exchanges and information cooperation,” according to a statement on the official website of the Philippine President.

The statement says that they are expected sign several Memoranda of Understanding, notably including visa exemptions for Burmese and Filipino ordinary passport holders traveling between the two ASEAN countries.

The meeting will also be attended by representatives of commerce and industry ministries from both countries, in efforts to improve trade and business opportunities.

Discussions are also expected to cover Burma’s role in relief efforts following the devastating Typhoon Yolanda, which killed over 5,200 people and wiped entire cities off the map in the central Philippines last month.

Thein Sein is scheduled to visit some of the disaster-struck areas during his three-day visit.

While this is the first trip to the Philippines by a Burmese head of state since 2005, and Thein Sein’s first since he entered office in 2011, Aquino and Thein Sein met earlier this year in Naypyidaw during the World Economic Forum on East Asia.


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