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Myanmar president to pay state visits to three ASEAN member states

YANGON, March 17 (Xinhua) — Myanmar President U Thein Sein will pay state visits to three member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos soon, said an announcement from the government Saturday without giving specific dates of his visits.

U Thein Sein is to make the respective visits at the invitation of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, King of Cambodia Norodom Sihamoni and Lao President Choummaly Sayasone

According to Vietnamese Foreign Ministry, Thein Sein is to pay the Vietnam visit on March 20-21 as the first leg of his three- country tour.

In December 2011, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited Myanmar on the occasion of the 4th Summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) held in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital city of Myanmar.

During the visit, Dung met with U Thein Sein and the two leaders had talks on promoting bilateral cooperation under the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation program and mutually beneficial cooperation in areas such as communications, transport, agriculture, livestock, tourism, forestry, trade and investment.

The two countries then signed two memorandums of understanding on agricultural and rural development cooperation and provision of technical fund by Vietnam for agricultural development.

During Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh’s visit to Nay Pyi Taw earlier this month, 12 Myanmar private companies signed memorandums of understanding with Vietnamese entrepreneurs respectively on furthering the two countries’ economic cooperation.

The two countries also agreed to establish sister-city ties between Yangon and Ho Chi Minh.

As the second leg of his trip, Thein Sein will visit Cambodia from March 21-22, according to the Cambodian Foreign Ministry.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen came to Myanmar in May 2007, while Thein Sein visited Cambodia in November the same year.

In November, 2011, Myanmar Airways International (MAI) launched its flight services to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, via Siem Reap. The airline’s extension to Phnom Penh has created a long-term cooperation between Cambodia and Myanmar on tourism, culture, trade and investment.

MAI launched its maiden flight in February 2011 between Yangon and Siem Reap, an ancient city of Cambodia.

The direct air link between Myanmar and Cambodia was introduced after the 4th Ayeyawady Chaophraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) summit and 5th CLMV Summit took place in November 2010 which was aimed at developing tourism industry in the subregion.

As his final leg of the tour, Thein Sein will visit Laos.

Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong came to Myanmar in July 2011, during which Thongsing and U Thein Sein held talks on bilateral relations, security cooperation along Mekong Basin, border region peace and stability, seeking ways to promote bilateral trade and exchanged views on bilateral cooperation in culture, tourism industry, religious affairs and education, mutual cooperation in international and regional issues and ways to promote the existing friendly relations.

Both sides also sought possibility of constructing a friendship bridge across the Mekong River to facilitate and enhance road connectivity.

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