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Vietnam’s prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung has met with Burma’s junta leader and signed economic pacts during a visit ahead of a regional summit in Hanoi, state media said Saturday.
Senior general Than Shwe and other junta figures welcomed Dung to Burma’s administrative capital Naypyidaw on Friday, but it was unclear if the Vietnamese premier raised the thorny issue of upcoming elections in Burma.
“The two sides exchanged views on further cementing of the friendly relations between the two countries and promotion of economic cooperation,” said an editorial in the state-run daily New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
“They also frankly exchanged views on international and regional issues,” the newspaper said.
Seven contracts and joint agreements were signed during the visit, the editorial said, covering investment promotion and various economic sectors including agriculture, finance, communication and mines.
Vietnam’s imports and exports to Burma totalled less than $US100 million last year.
The visit comes ahead of a regional summit in Hanoi on Thursday, which Burma’s prime minister Thein Sein is due to attend.
Burma’s pledge to hold elections later this year is likely to be a key issue at the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Burma has imposed severe restrictions on the elections, expected in October or November, including the effective exclusion of jailed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, leading to widespread international condemnation.
Communist Vietnam holds this year’s chairmanship of ASEAN and will host a summit of its leaders in Hanoi on 8 April.
Philippines’ foreign minister Alberto Romulo said last week he would urge members of the 10-nation bloc to call at the summit for a reversal of Burma’s decree governing the elections.
Dung arrived in Burma on Friday on state-owned Vietnam Airlines, which this month began a direct service between the Vietnamese capital and Burma’s largest city, Rangoon.
A Burma official said Dung would meet business leaders in Rangoon on Saturday and would visit the famed Shwedagon pagoda on Sunday morning before returning to Hanoi.