I’d like to extend my heartfelt sympathy and consolation to the people of Myanmar who sustained huge losses from torrential rains in the State of Mon last month. I am wholeheartedly grateful to State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint as well as the people of Myanmar for welcoming my delegation and me with warm smiles even in this difficult time.
Korea has a history of receiving enormous help from Myanmar. During the Korean War, Myanmar provided rice worth US$50,000 at that time and, through this, reached out with warm hearts to war-stricken Koreans. Korea was able to surmount adversity with assistance from the international community, including Myanmar. Now the Korean people are poised to return the favor from the kind-hearted people of Myanmar with “Than Yaw Zin.”
Today, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and I reached an agreement to work together in such various areas as the economy, culture and development along with the people of our two countries who are connected through a heart-to-heart understanding. We also discussed concrete measures to usher in a future of prosperity.
In addition, we agreed to a three-pronged approach to progress while appreciating the fact that Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan and Korea’s New Southern Policy would create synergy in many areas as they are pursuing the common values of people, peace and prosperity.
First, we agreed to establish infrastructure and the institutional foundation needed to efficiently expand bilateral economic cooperation.
The Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex – one project emblematic of our two countries’ economic cooperation – will help facilitate Korean companies' investments in Myanmar and make significant contributions to our shared growth.
Thanks to considerate assistance from the Myanmar Government, a one-stop service center will be established in the industrial complex. I expect that the center will greatly help Korean businesses advance into the country and increase their investments.
The Korea Desk, to be set up within the Myanmar Government on the occasion of this visit, will deal exclusively with difficulties facing Korean companies. The Korea-Myanmar joint committee on trade and industrial cooperation, a ministerial-level economic consultative body, will help lay a stable institutional foundation for joint economic projects.
Second, our two countries agreed to promote mutual prosperity through active cooperation in the development sector.
Korea has raised its Economic Development Cooperation Fund contribution to Myanmar to US$1 billion, further building the foundation for stable developmental cooperation. In addition, Korea's experience with economic development will be shared with the Myanmar Development Institute and the Myanmar Trade Promotion Organization.
We two leaders spoke highly of the fact that the Myanmar Saemaul Undong Project backed by the Korean Government has assisted progress in rural communities in Myanmar and become an exemplary case of mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries. We also agreed to enhance rural development projects. In addition, we came to an agreement to further expand environmental cooperation, the nurturing of technology professionals, scholarship projects and the provision of school buses.
Third, our two countries agreed to closely cooperate for peace and prosperity in the region.
The Myanmar Government has shown active support whenever the Korean Peninsula peace process made a step forward, including through the inter-Korean summits and the North Korea-U.S. summits. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude once more.
We two leaders shared an understanding that concerted efforts from the international community are important for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the settlement of peace. We also agreed to work together going forward.
I understand that the Myanmar Government, too, is striving to achieve reconciliation among different ethnic groups, for example, by solving the Rakhine State issue as well as national integration, making the Myanmar peace process the country’s top priority. I hope that our two countries will make progress together while helping each other.
Most of all, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she would actively cooperate for the success of the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit and the inaugural Mekong-Korea Summit to be held in Busan in November.
It was gratifying to learn that the Buddhist relics in Bagan, Myanmar, and Korea’s “seowon”, neo-Confucian academies, were listed together as World Heritage by UNESCO in July. The more closely Myanmar and Korea work together going forward, the more joyful events we can celebrate. I hope that the summit today will set a new milestone for the progress in the Korea-Myanmar relations ahead of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between our two nations next year.