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Thai Papers, 8/23

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Subject: thai papers on 23/8/95
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Thailand puts forward water diversion plan

The Nation/23.8.95

THAILAND has proposed another ambitious water diversion plan and
may speed up the scheme to pump water from the Salween River in

The plan to divert water from the Strung Treng River in Cambodia
is the latest of Thailand's projects to pump water from the
Mekong in the territory of Laos under the Mekong River
Commission, consisting of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam,
formed last April.

Dr Prathet Sutabutr, director general of the Department of Energy
Development and Promotion, said he has proposed pumping water
from the upper Mekong basin _ the Salween River in Burma and the
upper Mekong River in Tibet, China and Burma through Thailand,
Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Thailand has three other diversion projects to pump water from
the Mekong, including the Kong-Chi-Mool scheme in the Northeast,
the Kok-Ing-Nan project in the North and the most recent,
diverting water through a tunnel from the Mekong in Laos to the
Nan River in the North.

However, the Mekong-Nan scheme earlier raised concerns in Laos,
where Vientiane denied it knew of the project. "The tunnel plan
is aimed to add water to the Sirikit Dam, which has suffered
water shortages over the past several years, for irrigation of
farmlands in the central, plain of the Chao Phya basin.

Prathet said the plan to divert water from the Salween River has
also come closer to materialization.

"We plan to pump water from the Salween River only during the
four months of the wet season," he said. "We will try to use
existing facilities by diverting the water into the present
irrigation system and reservoirs," he added.

Prathet said he would propose that the Cabinet undertake a
feasibility study of the diversion schemes from the Salween River
to determine which of the three options would be most suitable.

"Thailand is eligible to divert water from the Salween. River
within its territory," he noted. "We can use as much as our
contribution [to the river's flow], which is five per cent of the
river's overall flow."

He said Burma and China contribute 42 per cent and 53 per cent,
respectively, to the Salween River's flow.


Rangoon soldiers advance toward Karenni positions

The Nation/23.8.95

FRESH Burmese government troops are advancing into the mountains
of eastern Kayah state to try to crush once and for all a small
but stubborn force of ethnic rebels who have been fighting for
independence for generations, rebel sources said yesterday.

Karenni guerrillas, whose ceasefire with X the government
collapsed in June, said s about 5,000 Burmese reinforcements were 
on their way towards their remote region up against the border
with Thailand in an attempt to finish them off.

"They want to eliminate us completely or make us surrender,".an
official from the rebel Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP)

"We must try to protect ourselves. We're willing to make a
ceasefire but we can't just surrender, just lay down our arms,"
said the official by telephone from the Thai-Burmese border.

"We will not give up but the situation is getting worse and worse
every day," the rebel official said.

A Thai security source monitoring developments along the frontier
said clashes between the several thousand strong band of rag-tag
rebels and well equipped Burmese troops were increasing

"The fighting has intensified, more than expected" said the
source, who declined to be identified.

"They don't have any permanent fixed positions. They're running
around, playing for time, refusing to surrender."


Supatra fails to get Suu Kyi on video as Burma stalls on visa

The Nation/23.8.95

DEMOCRAT MP Supatra Masdit yesterday failed to videotape an
address by Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which was
to be played to the Beijing non-governmental forum on women,
after the Burmese Embassy continued to stall on issuing her an
entry visa.

Khunying Supatra, a convenor of the Beijing conference, told The
Nation yesterday she had been informed by the embassy on Friday
that her visa application would need approval from Rangoon. Until
yesterday, she had not received any response from the Burmese

Supatra travelled to Rangoon on Aug 7 and met Suu Kyi the next
day when she extended an invitation to the Burmese pro-democracy
leader to attend the Beijing women's gathering.

Since Suu Kyi has declined all invitations to travel abroad, she
agreed to send a videotaped message to the conference. 

Supatra sought a Burmese visa to personally videotape Suu Kyi's
20-minute speech to be broadcast during the Aug 30-Sept 8 meeting
of private women's groups that will take place simultaneously
with the United Nations' Fourth International Conference on

A Kyodo report from Rangoon yesterday quoted local diplomatic
sources as saying Burmese authorities had refused to grant
Supatra a visa. 

A Foreign Ministry official in Rangoon said: "Miss Supatra Masdit
arrived in Rangoon by Burma Airways on Aug 7 On her arrival card,
she gave her occupation as a businesswoman and guarantor in
Rangoon as the United Nations Development Programme. That is the
only record we have. .

"I do not know about the current refusal of a visa in Bangkok.
All Burmese missions abroad are authorized to use their
discretion in issuing visas," said the official who asked to
remain anonymous.

A team of Nation reporters and a video cameraman who were to
accompany Supatra on the mission were rejected visas last Friday.

Another Nation reporter was also dropped from the list of Thai
reporters who are to accompany Defence Minister Gen Chavalit
Yongchaiyudh during his official two-day visit to Burma between
Sept 1-2.

A Defence Ministry officer, who  organized Chavalit's Burmese
trip, quoted the Burmese Embassy as requesting the dropping of
any Nation reporter from the media team. Another reporter from
the Thai-language news-  paper Krungthep Thurakij, the sister
paper of The Nation, was also dropped from the entourage.
A Thai political analyst suspected the Burmese refusal to let
Supatra in the country stemmed from fears that Suu Kyi's
video-taped speech would give her the first public exposure to a
big international gathering since her release on July 10 from
nearly six years of house arrest.

The conference is expected to attract some 40,000 participants.
Suu Kyi's speech on women's role in her politics is considered a
"political message" which the ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council (Slorc) may find too sensitive, said the
analyst who requested not to be named.


BBC news in Burmese jammed 

London, Reuters
Bkk post/23.8.95  

THE British Broadcasting Corporation said on Monday its World
Service broadcasts in Burmese were being jammed for the first
time in their 55-year history.

"BBC engineers have found deliberate interference on two of the
three regular short-wave radio frequencies carrying BBC Burmese
language programmes," the BBC said in a statement.

Elizabeth Wright, the BBC World Service's Asia-Pacific head, said
a distinctive electronic "wobble" noise was first detected in the
Burmese capital Rangoon two weeks ago and had now been confirmed
by BBC staff as jamming.

The BBC said the exact source of the noise has not been
established and a spokes-woman refused to comment when asked
whether the Burmese authorities might be responsible. She said
the jamming began shortly after a BBC interview with Burmese
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was broadcast in Burma.

     Suu Kyi was freed early last month from nearly six years of
house arrest by Burma's military rulers.

     Wright said additional frequencies for the three hours of
Burmese language broadcast each day have been allocated to try to
beat the jamming.

     "There is no possible justification for this systematic
interference with our broadcasts which are simply setting out to
provide accurate and impartial information about what is going on
in the world, including Burma," Wright said.

     "Jamming is a practice which violates international
broadcasting regulations."

     She said the World Service's English language broadcasts
into Burma were not affected by the jamming.

     The BBC said its only other broadcasts currently subject to
jamming are Chinese language programmes within China.


Narcotics kingpin Khun Sa claims he's ready to retire

by Subin Kheunkaew
Bkk post/23.8.95

OPIUM warlord Khun Sa has announced he would give up the
narcotics trade and his leadership in the rebel army in return
for being allowed peaceful retirement.

He said he would quit all important positions in the Mong Tai
Army (MTA) and was willing to give his full consent to world
organisations to manage areas currently under his army's domain
without condition except that he be allowed to lead a peaceful
life after "retirement".

The MTA leader told the Bangkok Post in an exclusive interview
that he wanted to retire and step down as head of the MTA for a
number of reasons. He made it clear he was prepared to order his
military personnel to put their guns down to allow a UN
development organisation or the European Union to develop MTA
controlled areas in Shan State.

I hereby declare our willingness to drop our weapons and hand
over the areas we now control to one of the international
organisations, either the UN or the EU.

"I trust the organisations' capability in resolving problems in
Shan State," said the 62 year-old Khun Sa through an interpreter.

He decided against asking for help from ASEAN countries, citing
their high investment interests and politicalties with the
Rangoon regime as the reason. The MTA chief harboured doubts
whether ASEAN would be sincere in assisting the, development     

The proposal to unconditionally cease all military activities
would benefit people in the MTA domain and the military
personnel, said Khun Sa adding that international organisations
have what people of Shan State lack _ the ability to improve the
quality of life and tackle problems regarding basic human rights.

"We are ready to cooperate [with international organisations] in
upgrading the quality of life for the people. I believe I if the
people can be assured of I their safety, the worldwide attempt to
end the spread of illicit it drugs would be a great success.
Widespread poppy I plantations [in Shan State] I would soon be
wiped out," said Khun Sa.

"We need sincere and devoted people. If they are able to show
their true commitment to contribute to the improvement of
people's lives, who knows, maybe they will receive the Nobel
Peace Prize?" he said.

For many decades, Khun Sa, or Chang Si Fu, has gained worldwide
notoriety as an opium warlord responsible for producing and
distributing a vast amount of heroin to many countries. But the
drug warlord title is not welcomed by Khun Sa, who has been
trying to shrug off the tag all these years.

Khun Sa conceded his many attempts to clarify his position in the
drug trade with international organisations including the UN and
the EU have been to no avail. The organisations, he said, have
paid little attention to the drug problem.

"The organisations never give us a chance to explain ourselves.
Instead, they accuse us of producing and being involved in the
illicit drug trade I'm beginning to believe the drug issue has
been turned into a political ploy," said Khun Sa.

The deployment of drug suppression drives in the past was proven
ineffective due to the lack of understanding on the steps
required in manufacturing and trading the drug. The complexity of
political problems in Burma also stood in the way of drug
suppression operations, he said.

The drug warlord was confident of transforming his controlled
area into a narcotic-free zone, but could not give his personal
assurance he could do the same for the whole of Shan State.

Khun Sa has flatly refused to hold talks with the Burmese
Government over the drug problem, saying the Shan State's ongoing
struggle to free itself from Burma's rule has made any
negotiations impossible.

"I don't want to talk with Burma [government] because it never
takes the drug problem seriously. Burma still insists Shan State
is part of its territory. There is no way we will agree to that,"
said Khun Sa.

To permanently end the drug problem in Burma, cooperation from
him and the now-defunct Revolutionary Council leader Gen Ne Win
is required. Gen Ne Win must hand democracy back to the     
people and allow him [Khun Sa] to live a peaceful life after his

This way the drug problem would be eradicated once and for all,
Khun Sa added.

According to a source at the MTA, Khun Sa has begun to feel
mounting pressure from within the force, following the pullout of
about 500 military personnel loyal to Lt Kanyod, an influential
figure in the MTA. The rebel army was reportedly dissatisfied
with Khun Sa, accusing him of being unfair in promoting only his
loyal followers.

Angry with the favoritism, the breakaway troops led by Lt Kanyod
later withdrew from the MTA and headed to the north of Shan

In a bid to remedy the rift in the army, most felt there should
be a major shakeup of MTA high-level administrators and Khun Sa
may be the first to go, according to the source.

A group of key MTA administrators and Shan State National
Congress President Kan Chet have appointed a 10-member committee
to take over the MTA.

Kan Chet is tipped to succeed Khun Sa.

Committee Secretary-General Khwan Mong said Khun Sa's name was
excluded from the list of committee members.

"The majority (of MTA personnel) think he deserves to rest      
he said.  


Probe squad to visit Burma over murders

Bkk post/23.8.95

A THAI fact-finding commit-tee will go to Burma next week to
interrogate Burmese seamen as part of its investigation into the
murder of four Burmese seamen allegedly killed by Thai fishermen. 
A group of at least 11 Thai fishermen allegedly killed four
Burmese workers on board a vessel owned by the Narong Canning
Company early this month. The incident prompted Burmese
authorities to suspend traffic between Ranong Province and
Victoria Point.

The Interior Ministry set up the fact-finding committee to
probe the murder. The committee is chaired by ministry deputy
permanent secretary Damri Watanasingha.

Mr Damri said yesterday that the committee will go to Victoria
Point next week to question Burmese seamen involved in the

Up to this point, the fact-finding committee is of the opinion
that only two Burmese were killed as there is no evidence to
prove that the others still missing are dead, he said.

Thai police have arrested two of 11 Thai suspects and the captain
of the vessel, the JV44, is among the nine suspects still at

The Local Administration Department has been asked to provide
information on residences of the suspects. They will be
prosecuted by Thai authorities as the incident occurred on a Thai

Supatra denied visa for taping K Suu Kyi speech

Rangoon, AP    
Bkk post/23.8.95

A THAI lawmaker who planned to visit Rangoon yesterday to
videotape a speech by dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi for a
global women's conference has been denied a visa, said a diplomat
who demanded anonymity.

There was no explanation for why Supra Masdit, a prominent
women's leader and member of parliament, was denied a visa. She
had visited Suu Kyi in Rangoon on August 7 to discuss the
dissident's participation in the conference.

Mrs Supatra is one of the organisers of an August 30-Sept 8
international gathering in Peking of private women's groups that
precedes the United Nations Fourth International Conference on
Women there.

The private women's groups invited Suu Kyi to their meeting, but
she does not want to travel abroad for fear that the military
government would not allow her back. Instead, she agreed to do 
the videotaped speech.

Suu Kyi winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, was freed last month
after six years of house arrest for leading the pro-democracy

A reporter for the Thai newspaper The Nation who closely follows
Burmese affairs, Yindee Lerteharoenchok, was supposed to travel
with Supatra for the taping. She also was denied a visa.

Yindee guessed the denial could have been related to her paper's
extensive coverage of Suu Kyi and a well-publicised interview
that its editor and publisher did with the dissident leader last

She said the Burmese authorities perhaps feared that a videotaped
speeeh from Suu Kyi would embarrass the official Burmese
delegation to the women's groups gathering in Peking. Yindee said
she'd heard that the delegation will be led by the wife of Lt-Gen
Khin Nyunt, a top government leader.

Bkk post/23.8.95

The Bangkok Post reported on August 18 that the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (Slorc) and the Karens were likely to
agree on ceasefire terms.

The information was attributed to Suvicha Hiranyapruek, who
claimed to be the secretary of National Security Council
Secretary-General Charan Kullavanijaya.

Gen Charan has clarified that Mr Suvicha is not his secretary nor
does the man have any connection with the NSC in whatever

The Bangkok Post regrets any inconvenience caused by the report.

Typed by the Research Department of the ABSDF [MTZ] 23.8.95