4 Apr 2007

Myanmar leader meets Singapore FM

Main document from People's Daily Online.

The first secretary of the Myanmar State Peace and Development Council, Lieutenant-General Thein Sein, met with visiting Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday, the state-run Myanmar Radio and Television reported in a night broadcast.

Both sides did not disclose the details about their meeting.

Burma has offered to be a long-term supplier of sand, granite and other constuction materials to Singapore.

The city-state's foreign ministry says Burma's ruling military junta made the offer to Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, who is visiting the country.

Singapore, which lacks natural resources of its own, has been looking for other sources of construction materials after neighbouring Indonesia banned the export of sand.

Indonesian officials have said the ban is necessary to protect the environment, but critics say it is linked to pressure from Jakarta on Singapore over the signing of an extradition treaty. From Radio Australia News

Yeo, who arrived here on Monday on a three-day visit to Myanmar, had met with his Myanmar counterpart U Nyan Win and discussions were held on promotion of the two countries' trade cooperation and matters related to cultural affairs, official sources said earlier.

Yeo's Myanmar trip came two years after Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited the country in March 2005, during which Myanmar and Singapore agreed to strengthen their bilateral cooperation in sectors including tourism, airlink, improvement of business environment and increase of foreign investment in Myanmar as well as technical cooperation.

Economic cooperation between Myanmar and Singapore has been developing rapidly since 1995 when cooperation programs for the sectors of tourism, agriculture, livestock and fisheries, maritime transport and human resources development were initiated.

Meanwhile, Singapore has injected over 1.5 billion U.S. dollars into the country since Myanmar opened to foreign investment in late 1988, according to Myanmar official statistics. The investment was mainly put into hotels and tourism at the early stage and later expanded to oil and natural gas exploration.

The Myanmar figures also show that Singapore's bilateral trade with Myanmar amounted to 822.90 million dollars in the fiscal year 2005-06. Of the total, Singapore's exports to Myanmar was valued at 558.65 million dollars, while its imports from Myanmar stood at 264.25 million.

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