South Korean president holds landmark visit in Myanmar | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 15.05.2012
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South Korean president holds landmark visit in Myanmar

In a historic visit to Myanmar, South Korea President Lee Myung-bak has met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom he has referred to as an inspiration for millions.

Lee Myung-bak is the first South Korean president to visit the reclusive country since a North Korean terrorist attack killed three South Korean ministers visiting Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in 1983. The South Korean president also held a meeting with Burmese President Thein Sein on Monday in the capital Naypyidaw.

Suu Kyi: an inspiration

Myanmar's opposition leader Suu Kyi with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Ban Ki-moon has praised Myanmar reforms

The highlight of President Lee's visit was his meeting with Nobel Peace Prize laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whom the South Korean President said inspired millions around the globe.

"Miss Suu Kyi has inspired millions around the world including myself with her message of peace, freedom and democracy and working on behalf of her people," Lee said after meeting with Suu Kyi. "I believe that this country is now entering into a new era of change thanks to the leadership of Miss Suu Kyi," he added.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party has recently seats in parliament in a by-election held on April 1. Suu Kyi, who has spent 15 years of her life under house arrest, now sits in parliament.

In the past few months, a number of international leaders have visited Myanmar, whose military-backed government has embarked on a series of political and economic reforms after decades of army rule.

"No nuclear cooperation with Pyongyang"

North Korean Unha-3 rocket

North Korea launched a rocket last month

President Thein Sein said after holding official talks with his South Korean counterpart that his country had no nuclear cooperation with Pyongyang. According to Lee Myung-bak's spokeswoman, President Thein Sein promised to abide by the UN Security Council's resolution on North Korea's controversial nuclear and missile programs.

The South Korean official also said that Myanmar agreed to release a North Korean refugee, who had been in prison for five years for illegally entering the country.

On Tuesday, the South Korean president visited the famous Martyrs' Mausoleum in Rangoon where the then South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by North Korean agents in 1983. 17 South Koreans including three cabinet ministers and four Myanmar nationals were killed in the bomb attack.

shs/sb (dpa, AFP)

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