Thailand, Myanmar leaders expected to ink key economic agreements

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BANGKOK, July 19 – Thailand is ready to welcome Myanmar President Thein Sein during his official visit to the country July 22-24 with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on development projects in Myanmar, covering the Dawei Special Economic Zone and related projects, expected to be signed during the leader’s visit.

Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul had previously discussed the matter with Myanmar ambassador to Thailand Tin Win on the occasion of the ambassador having taken his new post in Thailand, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry statement.

The discussion included cooperation with Myanmar to allow Thai officers of the Thai-Myanmar Township Border Committee (TBC) in the southern province of Ranong to visit Thai detainees in Myanmar’s prison at Victoria Point, also known as Koh Song. The Thai minister asked the ambassador to support cooperation by using the committee mechanism to resolve the problem.

Earlier this month Myanmar authorities apprehended 92 Thais for allegedly cutting down trees and clearing an area to plant para rubber trees and marijuana at Victoria Point. Those found not involved with weapons or growing marijuana would be charged with illegal entry.

Meanwhile, Mr Tin Win reported briefly on Myanmar’s reform progress to Mr Surapong, focusing on national reconciliation, democracy development, freedom for ethnic minorities, and market economy reform. The Thai official congratulated the Myanmar official on the progress, the ministry said, and supported it.

The Myanmar ambassador also thanked Thailand for its academic assistance to the country’s personnel development since 1992, and invited the Thai private sector to invest more in Myanmar, for Thailand is considered one of Myanmar’s important trading partners. Mr Surapong accordingly asked Mr Tin Win to help push the opening of more permanent border crossing points between the two nations for further economic benefit.

Regarding Myanmar workers in Thailand, the two countries have closely collaborated on regularising labour procedures. Five more nationality verification centres have been set up in Thailand. The workers passing through the nationality verification process will benefit from and be protected under Thai law.