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Date: Sat, 5 Aug 1995 14:58:28 +0700 (GMT+0700)
To: strider <strider@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Thai papers on 5/8/95
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Thai visit to Suu Kyi deemed 'moral support'

The Nation/5.8.95

DESPITE Thailand's previous refusal to recognize Burmese
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Foreign Minister M R Kasem
Kasemsri revealed yesterday that the Thai ambassador to Rangoon's
visit with her on Friday was gesture of "moral support".

The government, he added, also wanted to hear Suu Kyi's personal
views on political development in Burma. Suu Kyi was released on
July 10 after nearly six years under house arrest.

We want to hear from her mouth her views towards the future
development of Burma," Kasem said upon returning from Brunei,
where he attended a series of Asean meetings.

The minister said Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has
"noble objectives" for her country and Thai Ambassador to Rangoon
Poksak Nillubon's meeting was aimed at extending to her
Thailand's "moral support".

Poksak, bearing a bouquet of flowers, had an hour-long meeting
with Suu Kyi but later declined to comment on the subject of
their talks.

Kasem said yesterday he had not yet received a report from the

The minister revealed that the meeting at Suu Kyi lakeside
residence was initiated by Poksak, who had called to ask for his

Kasem said he gave him the green light, but told him "to do it
alone", not in a group with other Asean representatives.

He said Poksak did not give Suu Kyi any written messages because
diplomatic protocol would not allow it.

"As a good diplomat, it is best to listen and consider what, and
how far, we can do or help," he added.

Kasem's positive remarks about Suu Kyi contradicted those made by
top Thai military leaders, several of whom consider Suu Kyi
merely a Burmese citizen without political significance.

The military has strongly opposed Thammasat University's plan to
invite Suu Kyi to Bangkok to receive an honorary doctorate

Kasem said he also informed and cleared the matter with his
Burmese counterpart, U Ohn Gyaw, during the gathering in Brunei.

He reportedly told Ohn Gyaw that Thailand wants to help Burma

The minister said the meeting would to affect Thai relations with
the Burmese military junta, and added that he "never plays
against the rules".

"We only want to promote [democratic reform].

"From the experience that we Thai people have, we have never done
anything against the rules."

Thai and Burmese people are brothers and therefore they need to
talk together, he added.

Kasem, a career diplomat and former permanent secretary of the
Foreign Ministry, said a joint luncheon with Suu Kyi for Asean
ambassadors to Rangoon which had been planned was now scrapped..

The minister disagreed with the US approach of isolating and
pressuring Burma, saying "a tiny bit of progress is better than a
whole collapse".

"Slow progress is a lasting development," he added.

He urged the West not to excluded or ban academic assistance to
Burma, saying aid would help develop Burmese human resources.

Thailand supports Suu Kyi's wish for dialogue, he said, which is
better than confrontation.

Previous Thai governments and successive military leaders had
shunned Suu Kyi and other Burmese political activists for fear of
antagonizing Rangoon, which considers the political and human
rights environment in Burma an internal affair.


Karen leadership stays 

The Nation/5.8.95

TAK _ Karen guerrillas have decided against changing their
leadership and will instead attempt to form a united front with
other armed ethnic groups and Burmese dissidents to oppose the
Rangoon junta.

Informed  sources in the Karen National Union said the KNU
congress had agreed on the movement's basic priorities after two
weeks of meetings.

These were to consolidate all ethnic guerrillas and dissident
groups into a single front, and to agree on the new policy
following the unexpected release on July 10 of pro-democracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


BOT to reopen office in Burma 
Business post/5.8.95

Tokyo, Reuters

THE Bank of Tokyo Ltd (BOT) said yesterday it would reopen its
representative office in Burma on Monday after 11 years of

It made the announcement despite an appeal by Burma's recently
freed pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for foreign
governments to wait to see if there were genuine moves towards
democracy in the country before resuming economic aid.

The Bank of Tokyo, one Japan's leading commercial banks, said in
a statement that it was the only Japanese bank to have had an
office in Burma in the past and would again be the only one

The office, in Rangoon, would have a staff of four and would
collect information on Burma's politics and economy for Japanese
companies wishing to do business there, it said.

The band opened its Rangoon office in 1954 but was forced to
close it in 1984 as Burma strengthened an isolationist policy, it

Now, it said, Burma was opening its door to foreign banks again,
having softened its political stance in April 1992, and
investment by foreign companies and other economic activities was

Shortly after Burma's ruling generals released Nobel Peace Prize
laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on July 10, the
Japanese government said it was thinking of resuming full-scale
economic aid to Rangoon, Japan suspended Official Development
Assistance funds to Burma when the military killed or imprisoned
thousands of people during a crackdown on pro-democracy protests
in 1988.

Japan's Foreign Minister Yohei Kono said on Thursday that Burma's
military government should seek democracy. He said unless Burma
made progress "the harsh assessment of the world will remain

Bangkok Post Saturday August 5, 1995


Border row damaging Mae Sot's economy
Bkk Post/5.8.95

Mae Sot, Tak

RANGOON'S unilateral closure of Myawaddy border opposite Mae Sot
District here has inflicted so much damage to the district's
economy that the local businessmen are demanding the government
do something to ease their plight.

A petition was recently sent by the Tak Chamber of Commerce to
Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh calling for an urgent
discussion with Burma to reopen the Mae Sot-Myawaddy border after
it was closed for five months.

Suchart Trirat-vatana, secretary-general of the chamber, said the
chamber would like to see border trade resume as local people and
traders have been suffering heavily.

The Burmese Government ordered the border closed on March 4 after
alleging encroachment by the Thais into the Moei River.

Since then, trading between both sides is banned resulting in a
drastic drop of the trade volume in the district.

Residents of Myawaddy are now prohibited from even buying food
and necessities from the Thai side which could be done during the
early period of closure order.

"The trade worth almost 200 million baht a month has evaporated.
Every part of the community here is adversely affected," said Mr

Mr Suchart said the Tak Chamber of Commerce had discussed the
situation with its Myawaddy counterpart and called on the latter
to raise the issue with the Burmese Government.


Burmese on Japan trip
The Nation Monday, July 31, 1995

RANGOON-Twenty-five Burmese who studied in Japan as state
scholars during World War II left for Japan on Saturday to
participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of the end of the

Fourteen of the scholars were "Nampo Tokubetsu Ryugakusei" who
studied at various educational institutions in Japan from 1943 to
1945. The other 11 attended the Japanese Military Academy during
the same period.---Kyodo


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