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Myanmar's president calls for more investment, development aid from Philippines

  • 7a48a1daec630728450f6a7067000b00.jpg

    Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, right, shakes the hands of Myanmar President Thein Sein during his visit at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Thursday Dec. 5, 2013. Thein Sein brought additional typhoon aid with him during his visit to the Philippines, where he is also expected to seek support for his country's hosting of an Asian summit next year. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila,POOL) (The Associated Press)

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    Myanmar President Thein Sein, center, walks towards his limousine following wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the Philippines' National Hero,Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 at the Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines. President Thein Sein is in the country for the first time for a three-day state visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and Myanmar. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) (The Associated Press)

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    Myanmar President Thein Sein pauses at the foot of the monument of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the Philippines' National Hero, during a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 at the Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines. Thein Sein is in the country for the first time for a three-day state visit aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and Myanmar. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez) (The Associated Press)

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    Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, left, walks with Myanmar's President Thein Sein, right, as they inspect a guard of honor upon arrival at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Thursday Dec. 5, 2013. Thein Sein brought additional typhoon aid with him during his visit to the Philippines, where he is also expected to seek support for his country's hosting of an Asian summit next year. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)e (The Associated Press)

Myanmar's president called Thursday for more investment and development assistance from the Philippines, saying his country needs help to catch up with the rest of Southeast Asia after emerging from nearly two decades of economic sanctions.

President Thein Sein's visit represents a milestone in relations with the Philippines, one of the harshest critics of Myanmar's former ruling junta. Thein Sein's elected government took office in 2011, ending a half-century of military rule.

Thein Sein met Thursday with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, who said he was confident Southeast Asian nations would achieve economic integration by 2015. The regional bloc, ASEAN, will be under Myanmar's stewardship next year.

The two presidents witnessed the signing of six agreements in areas including no-visa visits to Myanmar for Filipinos and cooperation in several sectors.