Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan begins 3-day visit to Myanmar, will meet Aung San Suu Kyi

Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has begun a 3-day visit to Myanmar.
Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has begun a 3-day visit to Myanmar. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan began an introductory visit to Myanmar on Tuesday (May 17), as part of a series of high-level exchanges to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations.

This is the first high-level bilateral meeting since Myanmar's new government came into power.

In November last year (2015), Myanmar held a landmark general election that swept the party led by long-time political detainee Aung San Suu Kyi into power.

Her close associate, Mr Htin Kyaw, is now president as the Constitution bars her from assuming the role.

During the three-day trip to Naypyidaw and Yangon, Dr Balakrishnan will meet Ms Suu Kyi, who holds the posts of foreign minister, state counsellor and union minister in the president's office.

He will also meet its armed forces commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, former Lower House speaker Shwe Mann - who now chairs an advisory panel called the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Affairs - as well as Education Minister Myo Thein Gyi and former president Thein Sein.

Dr Balakrishnan will hold a joint press conference with Ms Suu Kyi on Wednesday morning. In the evening, he will host a dinner for the Myanmar government and parliamentarians, with Ms Suu Kyi as the guest of honour.

On Thursday, he will travel to Yangon, where he will visit the Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute, which is churning out skilled workers for Myanmar's growing economy.

As of March 2016, Singapore is Myanmar's second-largest investor after China. Bilateral trade last year grew 9.6 per cent to $3.54 billion last year.