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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
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.