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BurmaNet News: November 15, 1995 #2

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Subject: BurmaNet News: November 15, 1995 #278

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: November 15, 1995
Issue #278

Noted in Passing:

	Bkk Post Assistant Editor Ralph BACHOE: 
	There have been reports that the Burmese military itself 
	is involved in the drug trade. Do you believe that?

	There's no doubt about it.



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November 13, 1995    By Deborah Charles 

    BANGKOK, (Reuter) - Is part of Thailand's economic boom financed
indirectly by its many poor, orphaned or bondaged children? 

    Some child labour experts say it is. 

    In parts of Thailand, consumerism has become a driving force behind the
worst type of child labour -- prostitution and debt-bondage. 

    ``Consumerism has become a rising factor. Villagers want more purchasing
powers. So they will send their kids off to work,'' said Taneeya Runcharoen,
programme officer at the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Child Workers

    Most often children from rural areas unknowingly get lured into
prostitution or slave labour by middlemen who work as job placement agents.
The ``agents'' are often part of bigger, organised groups. 

    ``It's the new slave trade,'' said Rita Reddy, from UNICEF's regional
office. ``The new phenomenon of debt bondage is emerging in areas like the
Philippines and Thailand and is beginning in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.'' 

    Taneeya and other child labour specialists say in Thailand the children
are often recruited from villages, mostly from the country's poorest regions
in the north or northeast, to work in big cities. 

    Job placement agents visit the villages and convince the parents to send
their children to cities like Bangkok to work. Sometimes the agent gives the
parents money, effectively buying the child's services. 

    Then the child goes with the agent and is forced to ``work off'' the
payment, which could take years even though the average payment can range
from only about 2,000 baht up to 50,000 baht ($80 to $2,000), depending on
the future job, NGO workers say. 

    Alternatively, the child works for slave wages which are paid directly to
the agent who rarely does, as he promises to, pass them on to the child's

    Forced labour ranges from work in the sex industry to toiling in
sweatshops or working as domestic servants. 

    About 200,000 children in Thailand are involved in the sex industry, said
Christine Vertucci of the NGO End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism
(ECPAT). Even more are brought into Thailand by organised traffickers from
neighbouring countries like Burma, China and Laos. 

    Usually the parents do not know that their children will end up as
prostitutes or as bonded labourers who are forced to work up to 12 hours a
day. They send their children to work because they need or want the money,
and they see more opportunities in big cities than in their villages. 

    ``A lot of families want more money,'' Taneeya said. ``Most of the
children rescued from forced labour situations or prostitution come from
relatively poor families. But they have enough money to have a TV and see the
things they want to buy.'' 

    Often the parents allow their child to go off to a big city to work
because they feel the child will have an opportunity to learn a skill that
could be useful in the future. 

    Less-educated parents think vocational on-the-job training is more
worthwhile than long years in school. 

    ``It is partly a push factor of poverty and under-educated parents,''
Taneeya said. ``So NGOs are working to educate parents, teachers and village
leaders on what really happens.'' 

    Although prostitution and bonded labour represent the worst kind of child
labour, there are several million more children under 18 years old who are
working in Thailand -- often in hazardous or unfair conditions. 

    NGOs estimate there are more than 8.5 million working children between
13-18 years old. But they say the number could actually be much higher since
it is hard to determine how many kids are working in illegal jobs or in the
``informal sector.'' 

    Over the past few years, the problem of child labour in developing
countries has received a good deal of publicity, prompting some governments
and consumer groups in the industrialised world to impose sanctions against
countries with a large percentage of child labourers or on companies that
employ child workers. 

    But Assefa Bequele, director of the International Labour Organisation's
(ILO) East Asia Multidisciplinary Advisory Team echoed the thoughts of many
child labour experts when he told a seminar recently that efforts to force
changes in child labour practices could actually be counter productive. 

    ``An ILO study of the garment industry, for example, suggests the threats
of sanctions have had a number of adverse consequences on the very children
they are supposed to protect.'' 

    He said some children were fired by employers who feared government
pressure, at times forcing them to take worse jobs, often in the informal
sector where there are no sorts of regulations. 


12 November , 1995

According to S.H.A.N. source coming across the border, the National League for
Democracy, Burma's largest opposition party is considering boycotting SLORC held
National Convention due to resume on 28 November.

The NLD, brought to life by their leader Aung San Suu Kyi's release, is reported
to observed Burmese National Day which falls on 16 November. On the next day, it
will hold a press conference where they are expected to make some important
announcements.No further details are available at the time of this report except
that NLD has yet to dismiss the option of boycotting the NC.

The second largest party, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy  ( SNLD ) ,
however, may choose to participate in the Convention, said the source. So far,
the SNLD's proposals in the Convention during the previous sessions have been
better received by the public. But with Aung San Suu Kyi's return to the
political scene, many hope this time it shall not disappoint its constituents.


RANGOON VISIT     November 13, 1995

RANGOON _ Foreign Minister Kasem S Kasemsri met yesterday with a
senior official of Burma's ruling military junta amid renewed
bilateral tension caused by the killing of Thai fishermen by
mutinous Burmese crews over a week ago.

Details of the meeting between Kasem and Lt Gen Khin Nyunt,
secretary of the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc),
were not immediately known. But diplomatic sources said it
apparently covered arrangements for an exchange of
visits by leaders of both countries.

Tomorrow, Burmese Deputy Prime Minister Maung Maung Khin will
lead a delegation on a five-day official visit to Thailand.

Prime Minister Banharn Silapa-archa is expected to visit Rangoon
in the near future, while Slorc head Gen Than Shwe will visit
Bangkok next month for a meeting of leaders of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations and three neighbouring countries.

Kasem arrived in Rangoon early yesterday for a one-day visit at
the head of a 22 member delegation.


November 12, 1995       (PERSPECTIVE)

Assistant Editor RALPH BACHOE spoke with a Republican and a
Democratic in Washington recently about the Burmese situation and
its relationship with the US and finds out there's more to the
Issue than meets the eye.

Sen John McCain (R-Arizona)
Chairman, International Republican Institute

BACHOE: How do you view the relationship in general between the United
States and Burma at present?

McCAIN: "I think first of all we have to be concerned about our relations
with any country that is as important as our relations with Burma
is, to whit 60 per cent of the heroin that comes into the United
States is coming through Burma according to our DEA people.
Clearly the relationship between Burma and China is of some
interest to us.

Or should I say concern?

I mean it's not of concern in that we were worried about some
kind of military alliance, but clearly some of the behaviour
exhibited by China recently is of concern to us: claiming the
South China Sea, export of missiles to Pakistan, their defense
buildup, etc. I wouldn't use so much [a concern], but I would say
it should be of significant interest to the United States as to
exactly what that relationship is with China.

And of course the human rights situation and democratisation is
another area of interest. I think all of us were glad to hear the
news that Aung San Suu Kyi was released from her house arrest.

And there are signs that the Slorc is very interested in
bettering relations, not only between themselves and the US but
more importantly in the region.

What I would really like to see, if it were at all possible, and
I am not sure that it is, that if we were to lay out a road map for the 
Burmese, like we did to the Vietnamese, so that if they do certain things 
that we would in return try to do certain things as well.

What we did with the Vietnamese was a very reasonable and logical
step-by-step process. I would like to see us begin a process with
Burma that : would be a step-by-step process as well.

In theory that's a great idea. But here's the problem. It was clearly in 
Vietnam's interest to have better relations with the United States and 
have the embargo lifted and normalisation of relations.

So there was no doubt the Vietnamese would move over time towards
complying with our road map. It is not clear yet that the Burmese
view a much better relationship with the United States that's
something that is worth taking other measures in order to
achieve. That's the difference, between I think Vietnam and Burma.

The Burmese have shown some signs that they would like to see
better relations. But they have not got the obvious national
interest that the Vietnamese have. But I think we ought to try. I
don't know what we have to lose because Burma is an emerging
country m the region.

They do have some more military strength, there is the problem
with the drug trade. It's our traditional commitment to the
improvement of human rights, and of course as China continues to
manifest some actions that are of concern then the stability in
the region continues to be very important.

How do you obtain stability in the region? I think one of the
major ways to do that is to have a very economic don't envision
that kind of thing. Economically strong nations I believe, and an
economically strong Asean is a clear sign of stability in the region.

BACHOE: So are you saying that you agree with ASEAN's constructive
engagement policy?

McCAIN: Yes I do.

BACHOE: And you think it will work.

McCAIN: I don't know. But the contemplation of confrontation of 
armed conflict with China is a scenario I just cannot comprehend. I
just don't see a conflict with a nation of two billion people. We
tried that once in Korea. I just don't vision a scenario where we will 
have a kind of confrontation between our friends and allies in the region 
that we had with our European allies in the region versus Russia.

I don't see that scenario. I think the that China is undergoing a
transition. And the most difficult period in relations with China
has always been historically during the transition period.

So I am concerned about Chinese activities. But it doesn't send
me into some kind of panic or lends itself towards espousing some
policy that we set up in the region because they aren't possible scenes.

And again with all due respect to those who envision some kind
military alliance versus China, I just don't think they are
knowledgable about the politics and characteristics of the issue
in the region. This region is exploding economically.

Should you draw up this road map, would you have some guidelines
as to what it would be?

As I said, what I would do is to try to lay down, make an offer
of a road map, vice versa for improvements in certain areas the
specifics of which I would leave to our diplomats, but obviously
be reciprocal in nature as to improvements leading towards
democracy. There are many levels we have to talk about. Not just
send some ambassador, but about vetos and various monetory
functions and other areas that we do have some influence in other
regional and worldwide institutions. Is that possible? I thing
the options should be explored.

BACHOE: You were quoted in the Time Magazine after your visit to 
Rangoon, that you can't wait to leave and called the generals in Rangoon 
a very bad bunch of people. l also believe that during that visit,
you and your wife were shown a video tape of the so-called
beheadings during the 1988 uprising, and your wife ran out of the
room in disgust. Is that true?

McCAIN: No. Actually it was very warm in the room so she left to get some
fresh air. Certainly it wasn't her cup of tea. It was disgusting.

BACHOE: What do you think Slorc was trying to prove?

McCAIN: I thought it was just a very heavy-handed attempt to convince 
me that all of the problems were bred by communists. I don't believe
that. But I believe the people in North Vietnam were not bad
people. Because people are bad or good people does not affect my
view of what is in the interest of peace and stability in the region.

BACHOE: What future do you see between Rangoon and Washington?

McCAIN: I think the best that we can hope for is gradual improvement 
of relations that clearly will be based on to a large degree in
progress in the process of democratisation. Let me emphasise
clearly, there are many problems in our society, drugs are
clearly one. Sixty per cent of the drugs, heroin coming in into
the United States is coming through Burma from the so-called
Golden Triangle. I think we have a certain national interest.

BACHOE: There have been reports that the Burmese military itself is
involved in the drug trade. Do you believe that?

McCAIN: There's no doubt about it. The are also reports that the Thai
generals are involved in the gem trade and timber trade with the
Khmer Rouge, but that doesn't mean that we cut off relations with
Thailand. However there has been significant improvement as far
as the less in number in trade between the Thai military and the
Khmer Rouge. I don't think you could transport that much heroin
through without significant cooperation from the Burmese generals.

BACHOE: Would that be one of the conditions that you would impose on 
the Burmese?

McCAIN: I think that issue would have to be part of the overall
settlement with the Burmese. Look, but we are learning from
Mexico that drug trafficking is enormously corrupting influence
on the Mexican side of the border, the American side of the
border. So we do not underestimate the influence of hundreds of
millions of dollars. It's not an easy challenge. People make a
few dollars a month are all of a sudden: offered a few thousand
dollars. So the temptations are unlimited.

So do you think the DEA should . resume aid to Burma?

Yes. I think we should work in the area of narcotic suppression.
We believe we should do whatever we can as long as the drug 
continues to flow into the United State.


'We want good solid ties with all countries'
Sen Chuck Robb (D-Virginia)
Chairman, Asia Sub-committee, Senate Armed Services Committee

BACHOE: What is your reaction to Senator McConell's withdrawal of the
sanctions bill concerning Burma?

ROBB: I was surprised by it. I was in Rangoon on my last trip. I met
Khin Nyunt. I did not see Aung San Suu Kyi. I tried to but she
was still being detained at that time.

I wasn't consulted [about the bill]. We can't find anybody who
was consulted. And it is my understanding. that he is going to
drop whatever was in that part of the bill that was put in as a
Manager's Amendment. It should not have been included as a
Manager's Amendment. It should have been formally presented and
debated so that would be significantly revised when the House and
the Senate conference that particular report.

BACHOE: You said you met Khin Nyunt when you were in Rangoon. 
What is your impression of him?

ROBB: He is clearly an authoritarian, clearly represents the Slorc
point of view. He shared with me a video presentation that they
had to put together to try to demonstrate to non-Burmese and
others how the focus of the international community had been
distorted, or how our understanding was not consistent with the facts.

I brought that video home and I am having it translated because
it dealt with some very sensitive material and some raw footage
of carnage and beheadings in 1988. But I simply saw that we can
better understand the picture that they want to present. I am
having that made available to committee members and staff. But
it's not my intention to make that available publicly, I think it's a little raw.

I asked him, "May I have a copy of that video. He thought about
it and said 'yes'". But he denied me an opportunity to see Aung
San Suu Kyi if that had been available at the time. I wasn't as
interested as frankly in seeing her or what she would tell me as
I was to see whether or not they would attempt to make it possible.

He was very respectful to say that it won't be possible at this time.

But with respect to the sanctions question we have serious problems with 
some of the policies and obviously the human rights questions that relate
to Slorc and Burma. But the specific question of whether or not, if and when 
it ought to be denied the countries who do not observe our policy as 
expressed in the resolution was one that was not vetted and one that was 
ought to have been debated before we moved in that direction, particularly
to the extent that it attempts to impose our will by revocation of MFN on a 
number of allies. Obviously for Thailand, that would be a very significant question.

Will respect to Thailand, there are questions that with respect
to both cooperation with some of the Pol Pot and others of the
Khmer Rouge along your borders and with respect to some of the
drug operations in Burma along that joint border that are
potential problems _ I know we made some progress with respect to
the Cambodian situation I don't think it's resolved yet. I don't
think anyone feels it. But the amount of cooperation between some
military officials and the Thai government, and I guess mostly in
lumber and gems and other things along that border, has been a
matter of concern and one that I have discussed with the Prime
Minister and the Foreign Minister and others when I had been in
Bangkok or when they had visited here.

There has been less discussion about the situation in Burma
simply because Burma was an area where we had so little contact
that it wasn't high on our radar screen for several years. And I
think there are movements now to try to establish a better
communications link throughout the area makes sense. We have a
charge d' affaires who might well be elevated to chief of mission
at some point if the United States makes that particular step.

I don't think that's the next thing on the agenda, but depending
upon what kind of progress is made in some of these other areas,
that certainly is not impossible. I think the United States wants
to have good solid working relationships with all of the
countries in that part of the world, the whole world for that
matter. But that is an increasingly important part of the world
to US trade and economic relationships.

BACHOE: As a Democrat, do you think the US government was instrumental
for Suu Kyi's release after the socalled ultimatum given by the
US government that Burmese Ambassador U Thaung would be sent back
to Burma and the status of the Burmese delegation would be
reduced to that of a charge d' affaires.

ROBB: I hesitate to comment on anything. As. someone who reportedly
represents the executive branch, I am reluctant to side-guess.
Obviously there is lots of speculation about those. Some of the
things that have happened in China, lots of things that have
happened in the Middle East and Bosnia for instance, our rule is
not always fully apparent, and I think that's appropriate. We ought to work 
through back channels and intermediaries or with both carrots and sticks.

BACHOE: As a conservative Democrat, what is your personal view about
relations with Burma?

ROBB: I want to spend more time exploring that relationship. I was very
sceptical, and that's one of the reasons I travelled to Burma most recently 
[April-May]. There were three major objectives for that trip [Asia]. One 
was to explore the most recent progress or lack of progress in Korea, secondly 
was to explore the situation in Burma, and third I wanted to visit East Timor 
and get much information about that situation.

How do you compare the situation between Burma and East Timor?

An interesting question because we were to stop only in Jakarta.
I went directly from Burma to East Timor. There are vexing
problems in both areas. But in Burma you have the government
officially sanctioning and sponsoring a lot of the activity that
troubles the international community.

Whereas in East Timor the Indonesian government have six or seven
battalions there, only one of which is a military battalion, the
others are construction battalions. The only battalion that has
been involved in any significant way in trouble though is the one
that is made up predominantly of East Timorese.

So if you look at the situation a little more carefully, you'll
find that in discussions with the governor, with the bishop, with
the president of the university there, they have a very serious
economic challenge. They had a problem where they had an
insurgent guerrilla group which is no longer a serious problems,
and they now have a government force that exceeds the
requirements to keep the peace in East Timol.

I think they have withdraw one or two battalions already. At
least the Indonesian ambassador told me they read my report and
he was overly generous in suggesting that might have influenced
their action.

But in any event I think they would eventually draw down even
beyond that and then they need to find a way to provide some
employment opportunities for the Timorese and not bring in people
from elsewhere in Indonesia to take the limited number of jobs
that are available on that small island. I think that's a
manageable question.

But it [the Timorese situation] had been much more of a civil
strife where you had combatants on both sides, and most of that
had been resolved, so you are now dealing with the residue and
most of the problems seem to be centered on the East Timorese,
including- the big massacre in Dili and the other killings that
had taken place.

They all seemed to point to the same battalion, which is the one
that had a disproportionate number of Timorese in it. So you got
the feeling that it wasn't necessarily a problem of the Timorese
versus the Indonesian nationals but it was more of a domestic
Timorese problem that clearly was a serious problem.

And there had been serious abuses. I walked through the cemetery
where the massacre had taken place. It was one the Indonesian
Government seemed to be capable of dealing with and I got the
feeling they could and would make some progress in that area over
a course of time.

The situation in Burma is far more widespread. Particularly with
drugs and heroin what I view is a problem of a whole different
magnitude and of course that effects the cross border operations
with Thailand which are going to be a problem for sometime to come.

And both your government and the Slorc or some successor
government in Burma are going to have to deal with a lot of those
questions. Those are not as much as within the problems of the international 
community as some other where we think we can have an effect.

But the US is going to continue to be a presence in the area,
going to continue to have a bilateral relationship. We have
security arrangements with Thailand, Korea, Japan, Australia and
the Philippines. Those areas are going to continue to be an
important part for the security relationships for the whole region.


November 12, 1995  by Yindee Lertcharoenchok 

A SHAN nationalist leader being groomed to succeed opium warlord
Khun Sa returned to his base in southern Shan State late last
month, quashing widespread rumours that he had defected.

Zao Gunjade, president of the Shan State Restoration Council and
Khun Sa's trusted right-hand man, returned to Homong on Oct 27
after a three-month journey to the western part of the Salween
River. council secretary general Zao Khwanmong said in a

Khwanmong is the secretary-general of the Shan State Restoration
Council's 11 member central executive committee appointed on Aug
12 to oversee political and military affairs.

Earlier reports said Gunjade, a respected Shan leader, had
defected to the Shan State National Army, a group of about 2500
young rebels led by Maj Karnyord which broke away from Khun Sa's
Mong Tai Army (MTA) in early June.

Gunjade had travelled to negotiate with the breakaway group in an
attempt to reunite the two Shan military movements.

The MTA is the military wing of the Shan State Restoration
Council (SSRC).

Karnyord, deputy commander of the MTA's 16th Brigade, cited
discrimination in the MTA between the Shan and ethnic l
components and the poor international image of Khun Sa as the
causes that led to the defection.

Karnyord is said to have reached a ceasefire agreement with the
ruling Burmese junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(Slorc), shortly after his mutiny.

Slorc claims Khun Sa is an ethnic Chinese who is heavily involved
in drug trafficking, not a Shan nationalist fighting for the
independence of the Shan State as he claims. The US government
has also indicted Khun Sa on 10 separate drug counts and wants
him to stand trial in a US court.

Several informed sources said they believed Khun Sa would soon
appoint Gunjade as his successor, fulfilling a pledge he had made
after Kamyord's defection.

Khun Sa announced in August, during Gunjade's absence that he
would step down from all powerful posts in the MTA, and the
hand-over ceremony could take place some time this month the
sources said.

Slorc has announced its intention to wipe out the MTA and capture
its headquarters at Homong. Homong is located deep in mountainous
terrain opposite Thailand's Mae Hong Son province.

The statement released by a Shan information service said Gunjade
had a 10-day rest after his long trek back. His only comment
about his mission was, "You'll be hearing some news soon." When
asked whether it would be good or bad news, he said, "Let's hope
for the best and prepare for the worst."

The statement said Khun Sa emerged as the "dominant leader" when
three Shan guerrilla movements merged to form the MTA in 1985 _
Khun Sa's Shan United Army, which had strong leadership but poor
management; the Shan State Army, which had poor leadership but
good management; and the late Komzerng's Shan United
Revolutionary Army.


CORRECTED, SAYS PRAMON   November 12, 1995

ARMY Commander-in-Chief Gen Pramon Palasilp yesterday said he
hoped the Thai defence minister and Burmese deputy prime minister
would be able to improve ties and correct misunderstandings .

Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh has invited Vice-Adm Maung Maung Khin
for a five-day official visit beginning Tuesday.

Pramon said he was optimistic that tensions over the killing off
the coast of Ranong of six Thai fishermen by a Burmese crew would
gradually lessen.

The situation would improve once the relevant agencies from both
sides .had been given a chance to resolve the problem, he said.

Last August, three Burmese fishermen were killed by Thai

Gen Pramon said Thailand was concerned that this incident might
harm relations between the two countries.

But he did not think that the latest incident would strain
bilateral ties.

The Governor of Ranong, Sathit Saengsri, compiled a report for
the Interior Ministry on the killing of the six Thai fishermen by
members of Burmese crew.

A provincial official said the report urged the ministry to
liaise with Burma.

The aim is to get the Burmese authorities to send back the two
hijacked trawlers, the Navichai and the Paknam Ranong 5.


November 13, 1995
By Nussara Sawatsawang, Rangoon

Burmese military leader Gen Than Shwe has officially accepted an 
invitation to meet with other Southeast Asian leaders during the 
Asean summit to be held in Bangkok next month, a senior Burmese 
official told Foreign Minister Kasem S. Kasemsri yesterday.

Burma is also preparing for a visit by Prime Minister Banharn 
Silpa-archa, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt was quoted as saying during his 
30-minute talk with Mr Kasem who arrived here yesterday on a 
two-day fencemending mission.

Lt Gen Khin Nyunt is the first secretary of the ruling State Law 
and Order Restoration Council. The Burmese general reportedly 
demanded compensation from Thailand for three Burmese nationals 
killed in an attack by Khun Sa's troops at Tachilek in March, as 
one of the conditions to be met before ties between the two 
countries can be improved.

While briefing reporters, Deputy Foreign Permanent Secretary 
Saroj Chavanaviraj refused to reveal the results of talks 
between Thai and Burmese officials which began on Saturday. The 
talks have centred on thorns in bilateral relations between the 
two countries which led Burma to close checkpoints along its 
frontier with Thailand.

"There is absolutely no problem with the relationship at the 
government-to-government level. the outlook is bright and doors 
are open for both of us to reach compromises and solve the 
problems," said Mr Saroj.

The official expressed optimism that tension between the two 
countries was easing. Rangoon closed sections of the common 
border opposite Chiang Rai and Tak after accusing Thailand of 
lending support to Karen rebels and drug warlord Khun Sa.

Another checkpoint in Ranong was sealed tight following the 
murder of Burmese crewmen on a Thai fishing vessel. Rangoon also 
called off the construction of the friendship bridge over the 
Moei River in Tak, alleging the Thai side had encroached into 
its territory.

Six Thais were allegedly murdered by eleven Burmese crewmen on a 
trawler in Burmese waters last Sunday, just as reports emerged 
that Rangoon had demanded compensation for the murder of three 
Burmese crewmen on board a Thai fishing trawler in August as a 
condition to improve ties.

"I hope after this trip that an atmosphere of good 
neighbourliness can be restored," Mr Kasem told reporters before 
his departure from Bangkok. Another purpose of Mr Kasem's trip 
is to prepare for Prime Minister Banharn's visit to Burma.

Thailand wants to enter into high-level contact with Rangoon 
before the Asean summit on December 14-15. However, the timing 
of Mr Banharn's visit is contingent upon the overall state of 
bilateral relations, Thai officials said.

A team of Thai officials from the  Foreign Affairs and Commerce 
ministries as well as  the Customs and Immigration agencies will 
be in Rangoon for talks with their Burmese counterparts next on 
Nov 21 to wrap up a draft agreement on border trade. (BP)


November 13, 1995

An opposition MP warned the government yesterday that it would 
face an imminent censure motion if it failed to "restore the 
country's honour" damaged by incidents involving Thai fishermen 
in Burmese waters.

Democrat Nipit Intarasombat, a Phatthalung MP, compared the 
government's "awkward" response to the recent massacre of Thai 
fishermen by Burmese crews with Burma's aggressive reaction to 
the murder of a number of Burmese on Thai fishing boats in 

"Following the August incident, Burma closed border points and 
issued an ultimatum for the Thai authorities to hand over the 
suspects. The government, in panic, complied," he said.

"Now, I wonder if the government will act in the same way. I 
wonder if we can get the Burmese suspects to line up so 
witnesses could identify them." He said the opposition would 
censure the government over the affair "If the administration 
continues to overlook the country's pride and failed to restore 
its honour."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Kasem S Kasemsri, before leaving for 
Burma yesterday on a hastily-arranged trip to try to improve 
bilateral relations, defended his position and said some of the 
bilateral problems originated during the previous government.

"The problems were already there when I took up my post," Kasem 
said. Tomorrow, Burmese Deputy Prime Minister Maung Maung Khin 
will lead a delegation on a five-day official visit to Thailand. 
The exchange of high-level visits is taking place amid renewed 
border tension sparked by the brutal killings of Thai fishermen 
over a week ago by a Burmese crew who apparently mutinied. (TN)


November 13, 1995

A State-owned hotel at the 11th century Burmese imperial city of 
Pagan will be expanded and upgraded under a memorandum of 
understanding signed between the ministry of hotels and tourism 
and the Singapore-based subsidiary of a Japanese construction 
company, official sources announced last week.

The MOU provides for renovations and upgrading of the 70-room 
ThiriPyitsaya Hotel at Pagan and the construction of a new 152-
room four-star hotel near it by Sakura Tower Investment Holding 
Pte Ltd of Singapore.

The total project, scheduled to be completed in 10 months, will 
cost an estimated S$222 million, funded wholly by Sakura Tower 
on a build-operate-transfer basis. The hotels will revert to the 
Burmese government after a 30-year period. (TN)