Foreign Minister Yun pledges support for Myanmar’s reform

By Shin Hyon-hee
  • Published : Jun 5, 2014 - 20:33
  • Updated : Jun 5, 2014 - 20:33
NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar ― Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on Thursday pledged greater support for Myanmar’s reform push in line with its recent political, economic and administrative strides following decades of military rule.

At their talks in the Myanmar capital, Yun and his counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin praised a “leap” in the two countries’ ties on the back of a sharp increase in Seoul’s investment and development aid, diplomatic visits and people-to-people exchanges over the last few years.

The Southeast Asian country has been working to open up its economy to the outside world and revamp its public administration since a nominally civilian government took power in 2011, closing the long reign of the military junta.

“Yun appreciated that the reforms are making rapid yet solid progress, and pledged to provide all possible support as a partner that achieved its own economic development under a difficult environment,” a senior ministry official told reporters after the meeting.

The top diplomat also expressed Myanmar’s support for the establishment of a memorial for victims of North Korea’s 1983 bombing in Yangon, which Lwin called a “sign of friendship.”

The 730 million won ($712,000) program was launched about two years ago on a 258-square-meter site at Aung San National Cemetery in the former Myanmar capital in commemoration of 17 officials who were killed while accompanying then-President Chun Doo-hwan during his visit. Yun is scheduled to attend its unveiling ceremony Friday along with 23 family members of the victims and other officials.

The monument will mark a milestone in the two nations’ checkered relations.

Myanmar maintained close ties with Pyongyang until it severed them in the aftermath of the act of terror. Since the relationship was reinstated in 2007, the two countries have been suspected of joining hands to conduct arms trade and nuclear technology sharing, though the clandestine relationship has apparently fallen apart amid Myanmar’s democratic transition and western engagement.

“Lwin reaffirmed that such a partnership no longer exists since the civilian government came to power, while displaying his opposition to nuclear proliferation and support for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions,” the official added.

“Yun, for his part, stressed the need to deliver a clear, consistent message given that the international community pays attention to ASEAN’s reaction to North Korean provocations.”

During his three-day stay, Yun also clinched an investment promotion and protection treaty with Lwin and separately visited President Thein Sein and Shwe Mann, speaker of the Lower House of Parliament.

By Shin Hyon-hee and Joint Press Corps