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Burmanet news August 25
------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"
The BurmaNet News: August 25, 1995
THE NATION: SUU KYI BEATS BAN TO GET TAPE TO BEIJING
THE NATION: CATERING TOWARDS A GREATER ASEAN IN THE 21ST
THE NATION: OPIUM PRODUCTION OUT OF CONTROL IN BURMA
THE NATION: BURMA STUDENTS ASK SLORC FOR THREE-WAY PEACE
BKK POST: THAILAND RENEWS KHIN NYUNT INVITE
BKK POST: SHAN STATE'S CEC CLAIMS CONTROL OF DRUG WAR
LORD'S MONG TAI
BKK POST: BURMA MOVES TOWARD MORE OPENNESS
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===== item =====
THAILAND RENEWS KHIN NYUNT INVITE
25 AUGUST 1995, Bangkok Post
Thailand will reissue invitation to powerful Burmese
military officer Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt to pay a visit before the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in December,
Foreign Minister Kasem S. Kasemsri announced yesterday.
M.R. Kasem made the announcement after a courtesy call from
Burmese ambassador to Thailand Tin Winn, who said that Lt-
Gen Khin Nyunt, first secretary of the ruling State Law and
Order Restoration Council (Slorc), would visit Thailand as a
guest of Deputy Prime Minister Somboon Rahong before the
Asean summit in Bangkok on December 14-15.
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt is the chief of Burmese intelligence and
one of the most powerful generals in Burma. His invitation
is certain to stir up controversy in Thailand given Slorc's
poor human rights record.
Thailand will invite government leaders from Burma, Cambodia
and Laos to join the meeting of Asean leaders as guests of
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt is the chief of the Directorate of Defence
Service Intelligence, the most powerful unit in the Burmese
military, and plays a key role in checking dissent within
However, he was also instrumental in talks between the
military regime and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi, leading to her release on July 10 after nearly six
years of house arrest.
M.R. Kasem said Mr Somboon had agreed to be the Burmese
officer's host but added that the proposed plan still needed
the green light from Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa.
He said he discussed the issue with the House Committee on
Foreign Affairs yesterday. The Burmese envoy raised the
question of invitation during his first call on the minister
since the latter took office in July, according to M.R.
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt had agreed in principle last January to
visit Thailand as a guest of the then Deputy Prime Minister
Chamlong Srimuang, but the plan was shelved due to border
tension between the two countries.
The then Foreign Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had presented
Chamlong's invitation letter to the influential Slorc leader
during his visit to Burma later that month.
M.R. Kasem supported the idea of Prime Minister Banharn
visiting Rangoon to hold talks with Burmese government
leaders, saying it would strengthen ties between the two
countries which still had some problems.
A visit by the Prime Minister this year would be appropriate
as Thailand will invite Burma to attend the Asean summit and
use the opportunity to improve relations, the minister
M.R. Kasem said he was ready to visit Burma but added the
schedule has yet to be set. Thailand hopes to improve its
soured relations with Burma which have been deteriorating
since early this year due to attacks along the common
Relations worsened even further after Burmese fishermen were
killed on a Thai fishing vessel this month.
Attempts to improve ties with the Burmese military regime
will begin with a two-day visit to Rangoon by Deputy Prime
Minister and Defence Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh begin
ning next Friday.
The murder of the Burmese crewmen and Burma's rejection of a
visa application by Supatra Masdit, a Democrat MP from
Nakhon Si Thammarat, were also discussed during the visit.
After the visit, Mr Tin Winn expressed confidence in the
Thai government's handling of the investigation into the
matter, which could be resolved peacefully.
M.R Kasem assured that the Government would do its best
regarding the investigation into the murder of the Burmese
crewmen and attempt to prevent such incidents from taking
place in the future.
"We will not let such things happen again, " he assured.
M.R. Kasem said that Burma is considering allowing Khunying
Supatra to enter the country to meet Mrs Suu Kyi. "Burma is
considering the process," he quoted the envoy as saying.
Mr Tin Winn clarified to the minister that his embassy
delayed Khunying Supatra's visa because she had applied for
a tourist visit.
The minister explained to the envoy that her mission had
nothing to do with the Government or the Parliament and that
Khunying Supatra would be going in her capacity as the
chairperson of the Forum on Women, a non-govermental
Khunying Supatra was planning to meet mrs Suu Kyi to video
tape her speech which will be broadcast during the women's
conference staged by NGOs form August 30-September 8 in
Mrs Supatra, however, said yesterday that Mrs Suu Kyi has
already sent a video tape of her speech to the Women's Forum
to Beijing. (BP)
SHAN STATE'S CEC CLAIMS CONTROL OF DRUG WARLORD'S MONG TAI
25 AUGUST 1995, Bangkok Post
Shan State's Central Executive Reform Committee (CEC) has
claimed full control over the Mong Tai Army (MTA) in a bid
to pressure opium kingpin Khun Sa to give up power.
However, the CEC insists it still leaves an open door for
Khun Sa to assist in its work. The committee aims "to act in
accordance with the sentiments and wishes of Shan people of
all races" and to consolidate efforts to fight for larger
autonomy from the ruling Burmese regime.
The 10-member committee is chaired by Shan State National
Congress (SSNC) president Gunjade. Committee executives are
key men from the SSNC and prominent MTA administrators
including Zarmmai, Falang (vice chairmen), Khwamong (secre
tary-general), and Saengyord (assistant secretary-general).
Other committee members are Khunduan, Kyaw Myint, Kawfah,
Kyaw Maung and Sarya. The exclusion of Khun Sa from the
committee raises fear that some of the warlord's loyalists
in the Mong Tai Army may stage a revolt to bring their boss
back into power.
The CEC, however, maintained that so far there has been no
sign of resistance from the force, adding all sides con
cerned have thrown their solid support behind a plan to give
the MTA a new facelift in an attempt to create a more
positive image in the eyes of the global community.
All sides, including the ordinary Shan people, have welcomed
the takeover of the MTA, according to the CEC. The committee
secretary-general Khwamong said the administrative change in
the MTA is justified because it is what most Shan people
The CEC would ensure sincerity and consistency in its
efforts to restore Shan State's sovereignty.
"I have no intention to apply pressure on any single person.
We are well aware of the fact that the people in Shan State
are now no longer attached to an individual who may think he
could still lead them as in the past," said Khwamong,
apparently referring to Khun Sa.
"They [the people of Shan State] want to see the MTA being
managed by a team of devoted people. We believe we will be
able to administer the force with utmost efficiency," added
the CEC's secretary-general.
It is necessary, however, that the CEC be allowed some time,
at least until it can draft important legislations, to get
things off the drawing board and accomplish its tasks.
Khwamong said the fate of Khun Sa in the MTA is still
hanging in the balance. He conceded the rebel army, which
Khun Sa has commanded for many decades, has no desire to see
him leave the force permanently.
The CEC secretary-general said it would be in the best
interest of the MTA if the warlord could contribute to the
committee's work "once in a while."
"Most people still respect him. We don't want to limit his
role or shun him from participating in the MTA activity
altogether. But if he insists on stepping down and leaving
for good, then I have no idea how I can talk him into
changing his mind," said Khwamong.
he believes, however, that Khun Sa would choose to remain in
the force in some capacity rather than withdrawing his
support from the MTA.
Meanwhile, the fighting between the MTA and the Slorc-backed
United Wa State Army (UWSA) continues opposite Mae Ai
district, Chiang Mai.
The clash has left six MTA army personnel dead. Because of
intervention by the Slorc, both sides have failed to hold
talks on a ceasefire agreement.
The Slorc has reportedly given the MTA two weeks to withdraw
from its stronghold at Yon. Fierce fighting is expected if
the MTA refuses to pull out within the given deadline.
Khwamong accused the Slorc of trying to subotage the MTA by
instigating disunity within the force, a tactic proven
effective in reducing the power of the Karen National Union.
A recent breakaway of 500 personnel from the MTA was also
the work of the Slorc, said the CEC secretary-general. (BP)
BURMA MOVES TOWARD MORE OPENNESS
25 AUGUST 1995, Bangkok Post
Interview: Minoru Kiryu, Former U.N. Adviser to the Burmese
In addition to releasing Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese
military has prepared the nation to enter the regional
economy.By Amy Shiratori, Asahi Evening News
Q: Since pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed in
July after six years of house arrest, are Japanese firms
moving into Burma?
A: There's a flurry of activity. Japanese trade missions are
arriving every week. Companies from every sector of indus
try, including auto-mobile, electronics, metal and plastic,
are conducting feasibility studies. Many are considering
setting up supporting industries that make components for
assembly lines in Thailand or Singapore. I expect that
within a year, Japanese direct investment will have reached
$1 billion (Yen 100 billion) in 30 contracts.
Japanese firms rushed to invest in China and Vietnam, but
found out it was not to so easy to operate under communist
rule. Plus in Vietnam, overheated investment has driven up
wages and lessened the country's appeal. Then Burma became
politically stable, and gained comparative advantage.
Q: Are other nations also closing in ob Burma? Will there be
a heated competition between the United States and japan?
A: Right now japan is lagging behind others in investment
there. Britain has the largest investment at $634 million
(Yen3.4 billion), followed by France at $456 million,
Thailand at $418 million, Singapore at $337 million, the
United States at $226 million and Japan at $101 million, at
of the end of May.
But Japan and United states will not be at loggerheads in
Burma, nor in other Southeast Asian nations.
What the United States does in these nations is to go in
touting their famous brands, like Coca-Cola or Pepsi, or
venture firms tapping into energy or other resources.
The U.S. interest is in China. What it does in Southeast
Asia to let japan and Korea develop the nations, and after
that try to sell their competitive products, like computers
or telecommunications equipment_these are also their brand
The few markets where the japan and U.S. interest might
coincide is computers, telecommunications and petrochemi
Q: The Japanese government has indicated it is considering
resuming full-scale official development aid to Burma, but
wouldn't Burma's accumulated debt to Japan pose a problem?
A: Japan has required two conditions for resuming
aid_democratization and human rights improvement. The latter
has been largely met with Suu Kyi's release, so japan should
give it high praise.
Yen loans should center on areas of basic human needs, such
as hospitals, water systems, education and rural develop
But before yen loans are resumed, the Japanese and Burmese
governments need to discuss means for Burma to repay its
debt to japan, totaling Yen 180 billion, including Yen 80
billion that is past due.
There should also be multilateral talks about aid to Burma
under the auspices of the World Bank and International
Monetary Fund before starting yen loans.
Q: Do you think Suu Kyi's release will lead to the end of
A: Yes. I think it will happen within two years. The ruling
military say that they will accept a parliament where they
have 25% of the seats_I think you can call this a shift to
civil government_after they establish a constitution.
The road is now clear toward establishment of a constitution
because they military has virtually reconciled with all
racial minority groups. So a constitution will be passed
with agreement by all parties.
Another reason is that the military is confident that the
constitution they have written will be passed unmodified.
That constitution stipulates that to be elected president,
the person must have lived in Burma for at least the last 20
years and must be someone free of political influence from
foreign countries. The first condition guarantees that Suu
Kyi cannot become president for the next 12 years.
A very slight chance of destabilization could be in possible
divisions within the military_between those who pushed for
and those who opposed Suu Kyi's release_and within the
opposition_between Suu Kyi and senior democracy advocates
who are trying to quell her desire to try to topple the
Q: Is Burma set to join the Association of Southeast Asian
nations (Asean) or the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
A: Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore insisted during the
foreign ministers' meeting in late July that Burma join
Asean as an observer in two years.
Burma is anxious to join to end its isolation and become
integrated into the regional economy, to bring in technology
and import products and components. It does not see any
merit in joining Apec, but will do so if it is a condition
for joining Asean.
Q: What kind of economic and trade policy will Burma take?
A: Burma will develop as an agricultural-based economy,
processing food and lumber and exporting them. Tourism will
be a source of earning foreign currencies and repaying debt.
Burma can expect more than 100,000 visitors this year,
eventually 400,000 visitors a year. (BP)
Minoru Kiryu, 54, completed his graduate work at Dhaka
University in 1970. He was in Burma as economic attache to
the Japanese Embassy from 1979 to 1982, as an economic
consultant to the World bank in 1983 and as coordinator of
ESCAPE in 1984. From February 1991 to November 1992 he was
adviser to Burma's Ministry of National Planning and
Economic Development under auspices of UNDP. He is a
professor at Chubu University and belongs to Burma study
groups of several Japanese ministries.
SUU KYI BEATS BAN TO GET TAPE TO BEIJING
25 AUGUST 1995, The Nation
A video of a speech by Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-
democracy leader, has arrived in Beijing where it will be
broadcast later this month to more that 40,000 participants
in the international Forum on Women' 95.
An attempt by Thai MP Supatra Masdit to videotape Suu Kyi's
speech in person on Tuesday was thwarted when the Burmese
Embassy in Bangkok did not issue an entry visa for her.
Supatra was earlier given a visa for a brief trip to Rangoon
on Aug 7-8 to invite Suu Kyi to participate in the Beijing
conference. Suu Kyi declined all invitations to travel
abroad, but agreed to send a videotaped message to the
The embassy has also delayed approving visa applications for
the group of The Nation reporters and cameraman to accompany
Supatra to film Suu Kyi's message.
Supatra, convenor of the Aug 30-Sept 8 international
gathering of private organizations for women, told a press
conference yesterday that the videotape of Suu Kyi's speech
arrived in Beijing yesterday.
She declined to reveal how the 20-minute speech on women's
role in politics was sent out of Burma. Suu Kyi was asked to
make the videotape herself because Supatra is scheduled to
go to Beijing soon and her Burmese visa is still pending,
the Democrat MP added.
She said she would not bother asking whether her Burmese
visa would be granted because she decided not to go to
Supatra tried to allay the Thai government's concerns that
Suu Kyi's speech would adversely affect Thai-Burmese
relations, saying her visa application was not submitted
through the Thai Foreign Ministry.
She added that she would attend the women's conference as a
convenor and not as an elected parliamentarian. A government
spokesman on Wednesday asked her to clarify the whole
episode, she said.
Suu Kyi's speech, to be broadcast on Aug 31, would stress
women's role in the fight for democracy and advocate women's
participation in politics, according to Supatra. A lack of
or decrease in women's interest in politics would negate any
moves towards desired social changes, she said. The Thai MP
will leave today for Beijing.
Burmese Ambassador to Thailand U Tin Winn yesterday denied
that the Slorc had refused to grant visas to reporters or
singled out The Nation in particular.
"No, no, no. This is an incorrect report by the newspapers.
We never denied visas for The Nation or for any other
reporters," said the envoy after a courtesy call on Foreign
Minister Kasem Kasemsri. He said the embassy was still
considering the visa applications of reporters who were to
he also denied that his mission had not issued a visa to The
Nation reporter who would accompany Defence Minister Gen
Chavalit yongchaiyudh on his visit to Burma on Sept 1-2,
saying he was not included on the list of reporters from the
Thai Ministry of Defence.
A senior Defence Ministry officer said the Burmese Embassy
urged them to drop The Nation reporter from the entourage.
Another reporter from Krungthep Thurakij, The Nation's Thai-
language sister paper, was also dropped from the list. Both
reporters were never even given visa application forms.
"The list from the Ministry of Defence does not include The
Nation," said Tin Winn. We haven't singled out any newspa
pers. The previous visit [to Burma] by the Thai Foreign
Minister included correspondents from The Nation," he added.
CATERING TOWARDS A GREATER ASEAN IN THE 21ST CENTURY
25 August 1995, THE NATION
DESPITE international recognition as one of the most
important regional organizations in the world, the Associa
tion of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) has yet to become a
household name among its own people.
The political will of number countries to cooperate and
promote in what is hoped will contribute to regional peace
and prosperity has earned it recognition and support from
individual countries, as well as the United Nations.
Way back in 1979, Asean received the prestigious Magsaysay
Award for its contribution and success in instilling the
spirit of cooperation, friendship and goodwill among Asean
members and between Asean and other countries in the region.
But in spite of international acclaim, Asean leaders have
yet to make their own people fully realize the meaning of
the deliberations that led to the group's founding in 1967.
The success of the annual meeting last month in Brunei,
where Vietnam formally became the Asean's seventh member,
where Burma made known its accession to the 1976 Treaty of
Amity and Cooperation, and where Cambodia and Laos indicated
a time frame for their planned entry into the grouping, has
given additional impetus to the organization.
Asean leaders realize that more participation from people in
the grassroots level will bring profound changes to the
During the 28th Asean meeting last month, Thai Foreign
Minister Kasem S Kasemsri stressed on the need to forge a
common political culture to ensure Asean's success.
He had proposed the setting up of a regional parliament or
council to be drawn from various groups, including political
parties, parliamentary groups such as the Asean In
ter-Parliamentary Organization, media and business organiza
tions, as well as grassroots movements.
He also believe that the idea of broadening participation in
Asean by people from all walks of life would give Asean a
moral force and cohesiveness, strengthen its fabric and
enable it to participate in other discussions.
With the first Asean summit to be hosted by Thailand in
December, much thought has been given to the theme Towards
One Southeast Asia---Thinking a new Asean.
Bearing in mind the challenge to realize regional peace and
prosperity by the turn of the century, Asean think-tanks
gathered here last week to discuss inputs for consideration
by the Bangkok Declaration.
Indonesian Center of Strategic and International Studies
chairman Jusuf Wanandi said Thailand's idea of having a
consultative assembly will be further developed by academ
The Asean-Institute of Strategic and International Studies
(Asean-Isis), a non-government organization, has provided
useful ideas and proposals for political and security
cooperation since its establishment in 1988.
Though more discussions by Asean-Isis will be conducted
before final suggestions are made for the Bangkok Declara
tion, the main points to be included in the declaration
would contain a Plan of Cooperation/ Action in social,
political and economic fields.
Sarasin Viraphol, director general of the Foreign Ministry's
department of American and South Pacific Affairs, said that
while the concept of a parliament or consultative body may
not materialize at the Bangkok summit, the suggestion of
such an idea was important to Southeast Asia as an expanded
Asean is expected in 2000.
The idea is expected to be included in the Bangkok Declara
One important event at the Asean summit will be the signing
of the Southeast Asian Nations Nuclear Weapon Free Zone
Treaty (SEANWFZ) that will declare the region as a nuclear
Sarasin said Asean officials are trying to get the SEANWFZ
ready for signature.
Expected to be signed in December, the treaty is timely in
light of continued nuclear testing by France and China, and
reaffirm's Asean's support for the non-proliferation treaty
of nuclear weapons and the conclusion of the comprehensive
test ban treaty next year.
While discussions on what wouldbe included in the Bangkok
Declaration are still going on, certain statements will be
adopted from previous declarations to reiterate and remind
Asean's members of the principles laid down by its founders.
Statements covering the promotion of economic cooperation,
establishment of the Asean Development Cooperation Program
for Southeast Asia, setting up of the Asean University, as
well as poverty elevation, will be reintegrated to remind
Asean governments of their responsibilities.
The fifth Asean meeting should prepare the grouping for the
entry of three more countries into its fold. That is why
there is an emphasis on the theme Towards one Southeast
Asia--Thinking a new Asean.
Asean-Isis had also proposed that in order to cope with the
new changes and prepare for the incorporation of all 10
countries, Asean would needed to review its role and
function and enhance its organizational efficiency.
They suggested various ways of increasing the efficiency of
the Asean secretariat.
On the issue of the Asean Free Trade Area (Afta), while
member countries had originally agreed that the ideal
reduction to tariff should be from 0-5 per cent by 2003,
Vietnam will be allowed a moratorium of at least six per
cent, although the period could be shortened as suggested by
Asean's role will be more prominent in the multilateral
trading system, especially in relation to Apec. Asean's
private sector will be encouraged to play a bigger role in
bringing customs harmonization.
To create an Asean identity, the establishment of an Asean
University will be encouraged. There is also a proposal for
media to participate and increase its role in the region. To
foster an Asean identity, academics suggested that practical
measure, such as having immigration lanes at airports, could
be adopted, and exchange programmes, sports and cultural
activities be promoted.
The Asean-Isis proposal is a recommendation on how Asean can
respond to some of the challenges in order to achieve a more
optimal output. (TN)
OPIUM PRODUCTION OUT OF CONTROL IN BURMA
25 August 1995, THE NATION
DRUG addicts in the United States, Europe, Asia and else
where are scoring heroin so pure and cheap they can afford
to sniff or smoke it- instead of injecting-because the
world's biggest opium crop is blossoming out of control in
Most of the heroin is refined from poppies grown in the
rugged green hills of northern Burma where first-sized,
black blobs of opium are weighed against fanciful, ani
mal-headed bronze weights on hand-held scales made of
bamboo, metal and string.
One of the biggest enemies facing the international drug
enforcement agencies are battle-hardened Wa tribesmen who
dominate much of northern Burma's guerrilla-infested opium
International drug organizations, such as that at the US
Drug Enforcement Agency also fear Nigerian and other
international heroin gangs are exploiting Burma's makeshift
air and sea ports, while wealthy Asian dealers are launder
ing vast drug profits by constructing big hotels and offices
in the capital, Rangoon.
Opium production is out of control, said Robert Gelbard, US
assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and
law enforcement. It has more than doubled in the past
In the streets of America and Europe today, we see a degree
of purity in heroin undreamed of ten years ago. And it no
longer requires a needle to inject. Highly potent heroin is
now being snorted and smokes, he told the Senate on July 24.
Burma's role in the heroin trade dwarfs that of any other
country, Gelbard added.
America's expensive war against heroin has failed party
because China has opened up as a major smuggling route,
allowing Burmese heroin to pour through Hong Kong and other
busy ports while DEA officials are left grappling with
older, active routes such as Thailand and India.
In addition to new smuggling routes, the so-called opium
rich Golden Triangle of Burma, Laos and Thailand is swelling
to become a pentagon, with China and Vietnam joining the
illegal poppy growing region.
The DEA and the US State Department are meanwhile feuding
over whether or not to fund major anti-drug efforts in
Burma, where an unelected military junta recently freed
pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi after she languished
for six years uner house arrest.
The State Department opposes giving money to the regime
until it recognizes Suu Kyi's 1990 landslide election
victory, because the cash could strengthen the military.
The State Department recently said, Burmese eradication
remains so limited it has no impact on the massive opium
While direct government complicity in the drug trade does
not appear to be a problem among senior officials, narcotics
corruption is a problem among lower level officials.
The DEA argues that carefully audited training and equip
ment, including helicopters, could be targeted to fight
Burma's drugs and not end up in the pockets of the junta or
be used to kill Burmese struggling for democracy.
A diplomat who asked not to be identified, said he person
ally believes it was possible to administer counternarcotics
said without putting money into the pockets of the govern
ment. We can have safeguards to make it corruption free.
Referring to concerns about human rights abuses in Burma,
the envoy added, There are human rights problems that US
citizens face because of the addition caused by Burmese
heroin used by Americans.
DEA and US Customs officials meanwhile are sending a
training team to Rangoon to teach Burmese about airport
interdiction, and to show them, this is where you can
secrete things on an aircraft and this is how you do a
frisk, the envoy said.
International investigators are also trying to track Burma's
Several of the large hotels in Rangoon are rumoured to have
drug money behind them which enable them to be built, the
Huge opium crops in northern Burma have produced tons of
heroin dubbed, Southeast Asian Number Four, which can be
snorted because it is so pure, he added.
Burma's most infamous opium warlord is Khun Sa, 60, who was
indicted in a Brooklyn, New York court for smuggling tons of
heroin to the United States.
He commands an estimated 15,000 man iron-legged Shan United
Army which he claims uses opium and heroin money to finance
his greater cause: the minority ethnic Shans' fight for
autonomy or independence in northeast Burma.
But Khun Sa's drug empire is eclipsed by the larger amount
smuggled by the Wa who have 20,000 to 30,000 men under arms.
The Wa are number one for the amount of opium under their
control or influence. The Wa have 50 to 70 per cent of the
country's crop, the diplomat said.
Khun Sa is number two. Other ethnic minority groups such as
the Kokang tribe are also actively involved. (TN)
BURMA STUDENTS ASK SLORC FOR THREE-WAY PEACE NEGOTIATIONS
25 August 1995, THE NATION
A BURMESE student group yesterday called for the military
government in Rangoon to open three-sided peace talks with
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's numerous
The All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) urged the
junta to make several concessions to get the talks going,
including releasing student leader Min Ko Naing, suspending
the constitutional convention, executing a nationwide
ceasefire and restoring political and press freedoms.
We believe the democratic organizations led by Aung San Suu
Kyi and all nationality groups who had been resorting to
armed struggled and the Slorc have to set up a climate of
mutual respect and being a dialogue, the ABFSU said in a
It referred to the junta by its formal name, the State Law
and Order Restoration Council.
All are responsible for (the) inauguration of such a
tripartite negotiation, it said, adding that the Slorc has
to realize that it is the most responsible party of all.
Among the eight things it said the Slorc should do were
declaring an agenda for the negotiations and letting
international organizations news agencies monitor events in
The Slorc ended six years of house arrest for Suu Kyi on
Burma's ethnic minorities have been battling for greater
autonomy for decades.
The ABFSU is one of numerous Burmese dissident groups
operating from the Thai-Burma border area. It is one of the
smaller groups and is believed not to have been part of the
armed struggle, but little is known about its composition or
Reuter adds from Hong Kong: Burmese opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi has indicated that international economic
involvement in Burma could be one way to hep liberalize the
nation, the Far Eastern Economic Review said on Wednesday.
In an interview to be published on Thusday, the Hong
Kong-based Review said in a statement that Suu Kyi was asked
what other countries could do to help Burma.
There has been a debate over how far pressure and construc
tive engagment have worked, she was quoted as saying.
These days when economics and politicals are so closely
linked, those who are involved economically can hardly avoid
being more positive in bringing about the necessary changes,
Regional governments have pointed to Suu Kyi's release in
July following six years of house arrest as vindication of
constructive engagement with Burma's military rulers and
investment interest from businesses has picked up.
But Suu Kyi herself has been more wary, questioning who
benefited from such activities and urging governments,
international agencies and businesses to wait before rushing
in with money. (TN)