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     Ramos arrives in Yangon for 2-day landmark visit  17/10/97

     YANGON -- Philippine President Fidel Ramos arrived here yesterday at
the start of
     a two-day landmark visit, as the first Asean head of state to visit
Myanmar since its
     controversial entry into the South-east Asian grouping earlier this year. 

     Both countries yesterday signed an agreement to fight international
drug trafficking.
     The other accords included a trade agreement, an agreement on technical
     cooperation in forestry and forest industries and an agreement
establishing a joint
     commission for bilateral cooperation. 

     Mr Ramos and Senior General Than Shwe, chairman of Myanmar's State and
     Restoration Council (Slorc), held talks before witnessing the signing
ceremony at the
     National Assembly building, a Philippine government statement said. 

     Earlier, the President was welcomed at the airport by Gen Than Shwe and the
     Yangon-based diplomatic corps. 

     He received a 21-gun salute from an honour guard and was cheered by
hundreds of
     uniformed school children waving flags along the road to a state guest
house, a
     kilometre from leading dissident Aung San Suu Kyi's residence. 

     Before leaving Manila, the Philippine President intimated he was
seeking to meet Ms
     Suu Kyi, in what would be an unprecedented meeting between a foreign
head of
     state and Myanmar's most prominent opposition figure. 

     However, it was believed to be unlikely that such a meeting would take

     Philippine businesses have invested US$6.67 million (S$10.1 million) in
     since it opened up its economy at the end of 1988, making the
Philippines the 18th
     largest source of foreign investment in the military state. Myanmar
official media
     hailed the visit as "auspicious". 

     Myanmar's entry into Asean was opposed by Western nations critical of
the junta's
     human rights record, but the grouping said it favoured "constructive
engagement" with
     Yangon to promote change. -- AFP, Reuters.