Thein Sein Asks Philippines for More Aid

Myanmar, Burma, Philippines, Typhoon Haiyan, aid, investment, Thein Sein, Benigno Aquino

Burma’s President Thein Sein, left, is pictured alongside his Filipino counterpart, Benigno Aquino, on the former’s visit to the Philippines this week. (Photo: Facebook / Ye Htut)

MANILA — Burma’s president called Thursday for more investment and development assistance from the Philippines, saying his country needs help to catch up with the rest of Southeast Asia after emerging from nearly two decades of economic sanctions.

President Thein Sein’s visit represents a milestone in relations with the Philippines, one of the harshest critics of Burma’s former ruling junta. Thein Sein’s elected government took office in 2011, ending a half-century of military rule.

Thein Sein met Thursday with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. Aquino said he was confident that Southeast Asia’s regional bloc—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean—would make significant progress toward achieving economic integration by 2015 under Burma’s chairmanship next year.

The two presidents witnessed the signing of six agreements in areas including no-visa visits for Filipinos traveling to Burma for up to 14 days, and cooperation in trade, agriculture and renewable energy.

Thein Sein, who arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday and leaves Friday, said he urged Aquino to ask Filipinos to invest in Burma and for the Philippines to assist his country in fields such as health, education and economic development.

“As you know, we have lagged behind in terms of development compared to other Asean member-states as Myanmar was imposed with economic sanctions for nearly two decades,” he told reporters through an interpreter.

Aquino said he offered Thein Sein assistance through technical cooperation and training courses, and voiced support for democratic and economic reforms in Burma.

“These reforms include the holding of free elections, the release of political prisoners, dialogue with the opposition, the expansion of political rights and the promulgation of new economic laws such as the new Foreign Investment Law,” Aquino said. “These herald a new chapter in Myanmar’s history.”

Aquino also thanked Thein Sein for Burma’s US$150,000 in aid to victims of Typhoon Haiyan—which killed 5,759 people and left 1,779 missing last month—and a deadly earthquake that struck the central Philippines in October.

3 Responses to Thein Sein Asks Philippines for More Aid

  1. Have you no shame. That country was recently knocked out by the strongest typhoon in a century, yet you still went begging for hand-outs from the pinoys.

    What do you expect to get from the pinoys, Thein Sein? can’t you just give up your old soldier habit of demanding stuff from the poor for free?

  2. Thein Sein Asks Philippines for More Aid…did I hear right …more aid. What a scrooge. Myanmar is far wealthier than the Philippines or Thailand, but was it not for the Generals in uniform and in longyis stealing the country blind, Myanmar would be a donor country. I think Thein Sein needs to smoke a “Burma Cheroot” to clear his head and plug his mouth.

  3. An island nation where across borders investing ideas are so popular I guess.

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