President Lee Makes State Visit to Myanmar
President Lee Myung-bak arrived in Myanmar Monday for talks with his Myanmarese counterpart Thein Sein.
This is the first time a South Korean president has visited Myanmar in 29 years, since North Korea carried out a bomb attack targeting then South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan in the former Myanmarese capital city of Yangon.
The attack in 1983 left 17 people dead, including South Korean government officials and reporters.
The visit is also drawing speculation about whether President Lee will meet with Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his stay.
Earlier in the day, in Beijing, South Korea, China and Japan agreed to start FTA negotiations before the end of the year, with preparations to begin immediately.
President Lee, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda adopted a joint declaration, and announced the beginning of domestic procedures and working-level meetings.
The three leaders also welcomed the signing of an investment promotion and protection agreement, and agreed to work towards ratifying the deal as soon as possible.
However, they excluded a statement condemning North Korea's recent provocations from the declaration.
According to a South Korean official, the three countries did agree on the need to warn North Korea, but the leaders chose NOT to put it in the declaration in light of its political sensitivity.
President Lee also held a bilateral summit with Chinese President Hu Jin-tao, where the two countries agreed to closely work together in dealing with North Korea and effectively respond to Pyeongyang's nuclear test or any additional provocation in the future.
The two leaders also promised to cooperate in resolving the North Korean defector issue.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.
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