[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

Burma news:

Subject: Burma news:

/* Written  8:45 am  Dec 23, 1993 by DEBRA@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:hrnet.asia-pac */
/* ---------- "Burma news:"; ---------- */
## Original in: DEBRA@OLN-F06
## author     : MAWAD@xxxxxxxxxxxx
## date       : 06.12.93

Copyright 1993 The New York Times Company
December  5, 1993, Sunday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 1; Page 28; Column 1; Foreign Desk
HEADLINE: Burmese Rebel Army Seeks End to 40-Year War
BYLINE: By PHILIP SHENON, Special to The New York Times

   The largest of the ethnic rebel armies along the borders
   of Myanmar, the nation formerly known as  Burma,  is
   seeking peace with the central Government.

   After battling the Government for more than four decades,
   the rebels, the Kachin, have been calling in the last few
   weeks for their allies in the opposition movement to join
   them in peace talks with the Government and to agree to a

    "By first bringing about a nationwide cease-fire, it
    will be possible to clear the way for the peoples of
    Burma  to participate in the politics of the nation and
    in the formidable task of rebuilding a nation from the
    ashes of war," the 8,000-man rebel army said in a
    statement released in Bangkok.

   The end of the insurgency by the Kachin, a mostly
   animistic hill people much feared by the Government for
   their military prowess, would be a strategic and
   psychological triumph for the military junta that took
   power in Myanmar in a 1988 coup.

   The junta, which calls itself the State Law and Order
   Restoration Council, has been condemned by foreign
   governments and human rights groups for its savage border
   war against the insurgents, its brutal treatment of
   dissidents and its detention of the pro-democracy leader
   Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner,
   who is in her fifth year under house arrest.

   The Kachin, who control territory on Myanmar's northern
   border, between India and China, that is rich in
   resources, have suffered years of military defeats.

   Diplomats say the call for a cease-fire may simply be an
   attempt by the Kachin to hold on to what they have left.
   It may also reflect pressure from Beijing, which wants
   peace in Kachin-held areas to encourage trade across the
   border with southern China.

   A spokeswoman in Bangkok for the Kachin Independence
   Organization, Seng Rew, said the Kachin commanders had
   been impressed by recent conciliatory Government

   The Government "seems to have a willingness to change and
   to negotiate," she said in an interview. "We feel that
   never before in the civil war has there been such a
   strong possibility of a nationwide cease-fire."

   The army generals who control the Government have said
   that they want an end to the fighting along the nation's
   borders in order to concentrate on economic development
   in what is one of the poorest nations in Asia, with a per
   capita income estimated at less than $400 a year and
   widespread malnutrition. The central Government has been
   struggling with a variety of ethnic rebel groups since
   Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948.

   Since it came to power five years ago, the military junta
   has made peace with several other rebel groups, including
   the former Communist Party, which once supported the
   strongest guerrilla army on the border. The Communists
   had long been the chief ammunition supplier to the

   If the Kachin rebels put down their weapons, only two
   major ethnic armies will be left to challenge the
   Government: the Karen, with an estimated 1,000 troops
   along Myanmar's eastern border, and the Mon in the south,
   with a slightly larger force.

   Both had been allied with the Kachin in the Democratic
   Alliance of  Burma. Without help from the more powerful
   Kachin, they may not be able to withstand a new Myanmar
   Army offensive.

The Times
December  4, 1993, Saturday
SECTION: Overseas news
HEADLINE: Chinese cheer as trade link opens
BYLINE: From James Pringle in Daluo, China

    THE opening of a direct land route physically linking
    China's booming economy with the ''little dragon''
    states of South-East Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia
    and Thailand, was greeted by tens of thousands of
    cheering Chinese yesterday when the first caravan of
    visitors crossed into the ''Middle Kingdom''.

    The Chinese, mainly ethnic Dai, who are related to the
    Thai, lined the route through towns and villages as a
    group of 45 four-wheel drive vehicles carrying trade and
    tourism officials from Thailand and  Burma  arrived
    after a drive through an unstable area of  Burma  which
    has been closed for the past 50 years.

    Even soldiers and policemen shouted a welcome while a
    group of saffron-clad monks held up a placard saying
    ''Thailand No 1'' as the mud-spattered vehicles crossed
    into China at this remote frontier station. They know
    that the link could become a significant geopolitical
    link-up and benefit a huge but isolated area of China
    that has missed out on the economic surge in China's
    coastal provinces. The caravan, which was also welcomed
    by senior Yunnan province officials from Kunming, the
    provincial capital, was accompanied by foreign
    correspondents, who Chinese immigration officials said
    were the first Westerners to have entered China by this
    route since the People's Republic was founded in 1949.

    The area on the Burmese side has known little but
    banditry and insurgency since the Nationalist armies
    were pushed out of China shortly after the founding of
    the republic. The 156-mile route traverses the territory
    of the Wa people who acted as the foot-soldiers of the
    Communist Party of  Burma  insurgency against the
    Burmese central government until they overthrew their
    Marxist leadership in 1989.

   The potential of the new route and the parallel one
   traversing the new bridge across the Mekong from Thailand
   into Laos, will bring together a potential market of 220
   million in China's five south-western provinces with a
   similar market of 325 million in South-East Asia.