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Myanmar PM to attend Olympics opening

world Updated: Aug 04, 2008 15:58 IST

Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein will attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics, state media announced on Monday, but gave no details on his trip.

The government mouthpiece New Light of Myanmar said that General Thein Sein would leave "in the near future" to attend the opening ceremony on Friday.

Myanmar's secretive junta rarely gives any information about the travels of top officials.

China is one of the military regime's few allies and a major trading partner.

The opening of the Olympics on August 8 falls on a symbolically important date here, marking the 20th anniversary of a national pro-democracy uprising in Myanmar.

At least 3,000 people were killed as soldiers opened fire to end mass protests against decades of military rule. The military finally reasserted total control weeks later, when the current junta seized power.

The uprising also marked the rise of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose public speeches during the protests established her as the public face of the democracy movement.

Despite the significance of the anniversary, no public commemorations are planned.

Aung San Suu Kyi and other key democracy leaders have spent most of the years since under house arrest. The junta has violently put down any protests against its rule, including peaceful protests by Buddhist monks last September.