Myanmar calls for S. Korea’s increased investments

BUSAN, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) — Myanmar’s president asked South Korea Thursday to expand its investment in a country that has undertaken a wave of reforms after decades of military rule.

President Thein Sein made the request during a meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye on the sidelines of a special summit between South Korea and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to Park’s office.

Myanmar, previously known as Burma, has emerged as an attractive investment destination as Thein Sein, a former general, has made sweeping democratic reforms since assuming power in 2011.

About 150 South Korean companies have invested US$43.2 billion in Myanmar in fields such as the sewing industry and gas fields, making South Korea the fifth-largest investor in Myanmar.

Park called on Thein Sein to address power shortages and rising land prices to make it easier for South Korean companies to expand their presence.

About three times the size of the Korean Peninsula, Myanmar has one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves as well as big deposits of iron ore, zinc, nickel and other mineral resources.

Also Thursday, Park held a separate meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and they agreed to strengthen cooperation in areas such as investment, finance, and maritime infrastructure.

Park offered condolences to Widodo over the deaths of Indonesian crew members in the sinking of a South Korean trawler off Russia’s far east coast.

Widodo expressed gratitude to South Korea for its quick recovery efforts, though he said he was saddened by the accident.

The 1,753-ton Oryong 501 carrying 60 crew members, including 35 Indonesians, went down in the western Bering Sea last week. Among the 35, three were rescued and 14 bodies have been positively identified as Indonesians.


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