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Wired News on June 21 & 22, 1995

Attn: Burma Newsreaders
Re: Wired News June 21 & 22, 1995

Thailand Shrugs Off Burmese Call to Boycott Goods

      BANGKOK, June 22 (Reuter) - Thailand is not worried that a Burmese
boycott campaign against Thai goods will affect its efforts to build good
relations with its western neighbour, a senior government official said on

    Senior Foreign Ministry spokesman Poldej Worachat told Reuters it was a
local-level problem that would be solved. ``Time will show that this problem
is only a regional problem,'' Poldej said. 

    ``We have mechanisms to solve these problems, a joint committee and so
on, and we will use these mechanisms to solve it,'' he said. 

    Poldej said the Thai Embassy in Rangoon had informed Bangkok about the
boycott campaign before Burmese traders arriving in a Thai border town this
week reported seeing posters in Burmese towns urging people not to buy Thai

    The posters told people to buy Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and
Singaporean goods instead of imports from Thailand. 

    No reason was given for the boycott call but it follows months of
strained relations between the neighbouring countries. 

    Since the beginning of the year, Thailand has complained to Burma on
several occasions about encroachment into Thai territory by Rangoon forces or
fighters allied to the Burmese army. 

    Burma responded by accusing Thailand of assisting ethnic guerrillas
fighting Burma's military government for autonomy. 

    Both sides have strengthened forces along their common border. 

    Thailand is a leading advocate of constructive engagement with Burma's
military government, arguing that closer business ties are more likely to
prompt democratic improvements than isolation, which is backed by Burmese
dissidents and some Western governments. 


U.S. to Increase Cooperation With Burma on Drugs

      By Robert Green 

    WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuter) - The United States will increase
cooperation with Burma in an effort to stem heroin smuggling, President Bill
Clinton's chief anti-drug official said on Wednesday. 

    Lee Brown, director of the president's Office of Drug Control Policy,
said the moves would be taken without undermining U.S. efforts to promote
political reform and curb human rights violations in military-ruled Burma. 

    ``Since approximately 60 percent of the heroin sold in the U.S. comes
from Southeast Asia, and particularly Burma, our primary heroin control
priority will be to reduce this flow,'' Brown told a hearing of the House (of
Representatives) International Relations subcommittee on Asia and the

    He said the United States would hold discussions with Burmese officials
on counternarcotic strategies, exchange information on anti-drug operations
and provide in-country counternarcotics training to specialised Burmese

    ``We will continue to employ a range of activities to address U.S.
counternarcotics concerns without undermining other vital U.S. objectives,
including efforts to promote political reform and reconciliation and curb
human rights violations,'' Brown said. 

    He said cocaine still posed the most serious drug problem in the United
States but heroin use was increasing sharply due to larger crops from Asia
and South America. His statement was denounced by Representative Bill
Richardson, a New Mexico Democrat and a leading critic of Burma's military

    ``This is a terrible signal to send,'' he told the hearing. ``They are
human rights violators of the first order. We are going to bed with the
heavyweight champions of repression.'' 

    Richardson has visited Burma three times in recent years and has urged
the government to end the house detention of democracy leader Aung San Suu
Kyi, held since July 20, 1989. 

    Brown said the United States was also working with Thailand, Pakistan and
Turkey to reduce heroin traffic. 

    Assistant Secretary of State Robert Gelbard said on Tuesday that drug
trafficking was a problem throughout Asia. 

    ``What was previously treated basically as a Burma and Thailand problem
has now evolved into an issue that threatens all the countries in the
region,'' Gelbard told a news briefing after returning from a two-week trip
to Asia. 

    ``Trafficking routes have spread like a cancer to all these countries.
China now rivals Thailand as a passage for the transshipment of Burmese
heroin,'' he said. 


06/22: United States Plans Slight Gain in Burmese Drug Accord

c.1995 N.Y. Times News Service 

WASHINGTON - The Clinton administration has decided to increase
anti-narcotics cooperation with Myanmar slightly, ending a six-month tug of
war in which federal drug officials pushed for much more cooperation while
human rights officials opposed it, administration officials said Wednesday. 

Even though Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, produces more than 60 percent
of the world's heroin, human rights officials in the administration fought
against stepped-up cooperation on the ground that it would help legitimize
Myanmar's repressive military government. 

According to administration officials, the new policy calls for a modest
expansion in training Burmese narcotics officials and in financing United
Nations efforts to encourage Burmese farmers to substitute other crops for

The new policy also calls for increased cooperation with ethnic groups in
Myanmar to persuade them to stop opium output. 

With human rights groups criticizing the new policy, White House officials
sought to emphasize Wednesday that President Clinton was ordering only a
modest change in policy and that none of the money for increased cooperation
would go to Myanmar's military government, which is called the State Law and
Order Restoration Council.