Special economic zone a product of growing trust among Mekong countries: president

President U Thein Sein poses for documentary photo together with leaders of Mekong countries at Mekong-Five Economic Forum in Japan.
President U Thein Sein poses for documentary photo together with leaders of Mekong countries at Mekong-Five Economic Forum in Japan.

The establishment of the Dawei special economic zone, arranged at a meeting last January between Myanmar, Thailand and Japan,is the outcome of growing trust among countries within and outside the Mekong region, President U Thein Sein said Friday at the Mekong-Five Economic Forumin Tokyo.
The president thanked the host country for offering financial and technical assistance to the special economic zone, the construction of which is under way and providing temporary employment for local people.
The project covers a 27 square-kilometre industrial block, a motorway linking Myanmar to Thailand, a labour quarter, a port for export of liquefied natural gas, a power station, ports and reservoirs.
A memorandum of intent on the special economic zone will be signed at the coming 7th Myanmar-Japan Summit.
The Dawei special economic zone is in a strategic location regarded as a western door to the southern economic corridor of Great Mekong, linking the Pacific and Indian oceans by land.
The economic corridor passes Ho Chi Min City, Phnom Penh and Bangkok to Dawei, bringing development to multiple countries.
Myanmar, Japan and Thailand are engaged in discussion on extension of the railroad network to Dawei.
An environmental conservation law is being written with the intention of limiting environmental damage likely to result from industrial and economic zones, President U Thein Sein said.
The Mekong-Five countries are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, whose combined population runs to 230 million.
Last year, Japanese investments in the Mekong region amounted to US$6.8 billion, equal to its investments in China.
In the afternoon, Japanese Emperor Akihito hosted a tea party for leaders of the five Mekong nations. Present at the tea party together with President U Thein Sein were Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen, Laos’ Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
In the evening, the leaders met Speaker of the Japanese House of Representatives Tadamori Oshima and President of the Japanese House of Councillors Masaaki Yamazaki.
President U Thein Sein met Komeito Party Leader Natsuo Yamaguchi on Friday morning at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo where they discussed matters related to rural development, poverty reduction, disaster preparedness, rehabilitation of areas hit by Cyclone Nargis, mutual cooperation between legislatures and political parties of the two countries. Natsuo expressed his support for reforms in Myanmar.
President U Thein Sein also met a delegation led by Shintaro Ambe, Vice President of MitsuiCo. Ltd. Their discussions focused on development of energy and electricity sectors, export of agricultural produce, improvement of rice production, and upgrading of rail transportation.
The president and his entourage also attended a working lunch hosted by the Mekong-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Association at Hotel New Otani.
Together with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President U Thein Sein visited Minamiaoyama Idol to enjoy the Myanmar Fashion and Handicrafts Show in the evening.
The president, together with other leaders of the Mekong region, also attended a dinner hosted by Japanese prime minister.

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