PM Lee on 3-day visit to Myanmar

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in Myanmar for a three-day official visit.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in Myanmar for a three-day official visit. PHOTO: ST FILE

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be in Myanmar for a three-day official visit, starting today.

His visit commemorates 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries and will pave the way for greater cooperation, especially in business and education.

Mr Lee was last in Myanmar in November 2014 for the 25th Asean Summit, but this is his first visit to the country - and the first by any head of government - since its civilian government came into power.

The party led by long-time political detainee Aung San Suu Kyi achieved a landslide victory in the country's general election last November.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement yesterday that the visit affirms the two countries' longstanding ties and underscores Singapore's commitment to Myanmar's development.

While in the capital city Naypyitaw, PM Lee will meet top government leaders and discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

He will call on President Htin Kyaw and meet Ms Suu Kyi, who holds the posts of Foreign Minister, State Counsellor and Union Minister in the President's Office.

Other key figures whom the Prime Minister will meet include Lower House Speaker Win Myint, Upper House and Parliament Speaker Mahn Win Khaing Than, Myanmar's armed forces commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing and former president Thein Sein.

PM Lee will then travel to Yangon, Myanmar's largest city and former capital, where he will launch the Singapore-Myanmar Vocational Training Institute.

The school trains skilled workers for the fledgling Asean economy and is modelled after Singapore's Institute of Technical Education.

He will also meet Singaporeans in Myanmar at a reception.

Bilateral trade has been growing, reaching $3.54 billion last year, almost 20 per cent more than in 2014.

Singapore is a big investor in Myanmar. In April, it ranked No. 2 - after China - with a cumulative investment of US$13.06 billion (S$17.8 billion) in the country.

PM Lee is accompanied by Mrs Lee and a high-level delegation of officials. They include Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah, and Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport Josephine Teo.

Also in the group are MPs Cedric Foo and Fatimah Lateef, as well as senior officials from the Prime Minister's Office and the MFA.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will be Acting Prime Minister while Mr Lee is away.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2016, with the headline 'PM Lee on 3-day visit to Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe