Myanmar President to visit New Zealand

2013-03-12 04:09:46 GMT2013-03-12 12:09:46(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

WELLINGTON, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar President U Thein Sein is to make a state visit to New Zealand this week, New Zealand Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae announced Tuesday.

"The last year has marked a new beginning in relations between New Zealand and Myanmar, with a number of high level visits after decades of limited contact," Mateparae said in a statement.

"Those contacts have been in direct response to the wide ranging economic, social and political reforms instituted by the president that have seen the southeast Asian nation open itself to the world."

The state visit came in response to the invitation conveyed by Prime Minister John Key, during his own official visit to Myanmar in November last year.

The president's delegation would include several ministers and deputy ministers from the Myanmar government, including those responsible for foreign affairs, agriculture, education, health, economic development and science.

The president would arrive in Auckland on Thursday and depart on Sunday.

Key became the first ever New Zealand leader to visit Myanmar in November last year, when he held separate talks with the president and with opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and announced a major aid package to help develop Myanmar's dairy farming capabilities.

Key's visit was the high point of a concerted New Zealand campaign to expand its markets into Southeast Asia as Myanmar emerges from military rule with the promised of political reform.

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