Myanmar ’s President Thein Sein arrived in Hanoi on March 20 for a two-day official visit. He was given a grand welcome ceremony by his Vietnamese counterpart, Truong Tan Sang.

This is President Thein Sein's first visit since he was elected in March, 2011.

At a meeting following the ceremony, President Sang affirmed that Vietnam attaches importance to cooperation with Myanmar .

He said the two countries’ relations have long been fostered by generations of leaders. However, bilateral economic and trade ties have not matched their potential.

The president suggested that the two sides review their policies and mechanisms towards facilitating cooperation between their enterprises.

The Myanmar President said Myanmar has great potential in the tourism, forestry and banking sectors, and it will create favourable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises to invest in these fields.

He also thanked Vietnam for its support of Myanmar as the future Chair of ASEAN in 2014.

Later in the day, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with President of Myanmar Thein Sein in Hanoi .

The Vietnamese Government leader applauded the visit, saying it will help raise the bilateral relationship to a new height.

PM Dung affirmed that Vietnam wants to work with Myanmar to continue strengthening the bilateral ties for the practical interests of both countries.

He suggested the two sides maintain an annual political consultation mechanism between the two Foreign Ministries and boost cooperation in the Mekong Subregion.

The two sides should speed up the implementation of cooperative programmes and agreements in areas agreed by the two countries’ high-ranking leaders, including agriculture, seafood, forestry, finance, telecommunications and energy, he said.

Regarding regional issues, PM Dung affirmed Vietnam ’s standpoint of supporting Myanmar as the ASEAN Chair in 2014 and said the country is ready to closely cooperate and support Myanmar at regional forums.

President Thein Sein said his visit aims to consolidate and further strengthen the traditional friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar .

He noted positive results in the two countries’ cooperation in various fields, especially economics, trade, security and defence.

The Myanmar leader expressed his wish to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam in the fields of industry, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure construction, health, security and defence.

He said he hopes Vietnam will share its national construction and development experience with Myanmar .

President Thein Sein affirmed that Myanmar will create favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to invest in the country, especially in agriculture, tourism, telecommunications, oil and gas and hotels.

Vietnam and Myanmar established diplomatic ties on May 28, 1975. Bilateral cooperation in economics, trade and investment has grown steadily, with two-way trade turnover reaching more than 167 million USD in 2011, up 9.8 percent over 2010.-VNA