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BurmaNet News November 16, 1995

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The BurmaNet News: November 16, 1995
Issue #279

Noted in Passing:

	In my own country there are large numbers of men and women 
	who do not enjoy the protection of international recognition, 
	daily risking their well-being, their liberty and even their lives for 
	the sake of principles and rights that will guarantee our people a 
	secure and dignified existence. - Aung San Suu Kyi
	(see: Aung San Suu Kyi's Speech at Nehru Prize)

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November 14, 1995

Address on the Occasion of the Presentation of the 1993 Nehru Memorial 
Prize for International Understanding
Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Prime Minister, Members of the 
Nehru Award  Committee, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests and Dear 

This is a occasion for mixed emotions. there are strong ties of 
friendship and shared  political ideals that bind me to so many people in 
India. I do not remember a time when I did not know about India and 
Panditji as we always referred to Pandit Nehru in our family. To be awarded 
a prize for international understanding established in his memory is 
a matter of pride and joy for me.  On the other hand I am well aware that the 
prize comes to me not as an individual but as a representative of the democracy 
movement in Burma. And that fills me with a sense of humility and gratitude, 
as is always the case when I am chosen to be the recipient of honours that are 
awarded to those who have rendered outstanding service to the cause of 
human dignity the world over. In my own country there are large numbers 
of men and women who do not enjoy the protection of international recognition, 
daily risking their well-being, their liberty and even their lives for the sake of 
principles and rights that will guarantee our people a secure and dignified 
existence. I am thankful for the opportunity to draw attention to the struggles 
of these brave men and women and to accept, in all humility, the Nehru 
Memorial Prize for International Understanding in their names.

It is as much the desire to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much in 
pursuit of a free and democratic Burma, as to re-establish and strengthen 
my ties with India that I so much wish circumstances could have allowed me to 
receive this honour in person today.  However, as that family, friend and honorary 
aunt, Daw Than E. She has lived and worked in India for many years and as the 
first Burmese to become a member of the United Nations Secretariat, she has 
been an ardent advocate and a practitioner of international understanding. I 
know that she will accept the prize on my behalf with all the grace and dignity 
the occasion merits.

Pandit Nehrus contribution to international understanding go beyond the 
part he played on the world stage during his lifetime to narrow the gap between 
diverse cultures and differing ideologies. His spirit continues to reach out to 
people struggling to establish universal human values in a word increasingly 
preoccupied with material power.  During my years of detention the words and 
work of Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru were a constant source of inspiration 
and support. I count these two great Indians among my most revered guides, 
mentors and friends. Throughput the six years that I was cut off from the world 
outside, I had hanging in the front hall of my house a scroll on which I had 
copied extracts from Pandit Nehrus immortal words on discipline, law and 
order. These words, to be found in my autobiography, made such  profound 
impression on me I would like to quote the passage in its entirety:
Law and Order, we are told, are among the proud achievements of British role
 in India. My own instincts are entirely in favour of them. I like discipline 
in life, and dislike anarchy and disorder and inefficiency. But bitter experience 
has made me doubt the value of the law and order that states and governments 
impose on a people. Sometimes the price one pays for them is excessive, and 
the law is but the will of the dominant faction and the order is the reflex of an 
all-pervading fear. Sometimes, indeed, the so-called law and order might be 
more justly called the absence of law and order. Any achievement that is based 
on widespread fear can hardly be a desirable one, and an order that has 
for its basis the coercive apparatus of the State, and cannot exist without it; is 
more like a military occupation than civil rule. I find in the Rajatarangiri, the 
thousand-year-old Kashmiri historic epic of the poet Kalhana, that the phrase 
which is repeatedly used in the sense of law and order, something that it was the 
duty of the ruler and the state to preserve is dharma and abbaya- righteousness 
and absence of fear. Law was something more than mere law, and order was the 
fearlessness of the people. How much more desirable is this idea of inculcating 
fearlessness than of enforcing order on a frightened populace?
The sentiments expressed by Pandit Nehru in the above passage are exactly my 
own.  Often I have felt that we shared much in common and regrettednot having 
taken the opportunity to get to know him better during the year I was in India 
with my mother. At that time I looked upon him simply as a friend of my parents 
and never imagined I would one day come to look upon him as my own friend.
Pandit Nehru often broke through the barriers of race and generation by 
his warm humanity. On his way to London for talks on independence for Burma, 
my father made a stop in Delhi to have talks with Pandit Nehru and other Indian 
leaders.  Panditji immediately showed a fatherly concern for my father, twenty-six 
years his junior. He cast a critical but kindly eye over the younger man's shabby, 
thin cotton uniform and decided it would not do. He arranged for several smart, 
warm woollen uniforms to be run up hastily by his tailors. Hearing that England 
was suffering from one of the coldest winters in living memory, Panditji also 
commandeered a greatcoat: a well-known photograph of my father shows him 
looking somewhat swamped in this greatcoat which is rather too large for him.
When my mother was appointed Burmese ambassador to India in 1960, Pandit 
Nehru cast over her the warm protection of his friendship, always making 
a point of singling her out at public occasions to enquire after her well-being. 
It was with such gestures of human warmth that Pandit Nehru won the hearts 
of peoples of all races and creeds. And his intellect and integrity won him 
the respect even of those who did not share his commitment to democracy and 

For us who believe that a democratic political system offers the best solutions 
to the myriad problems that beset our imperfect world, the achievement  of 
Pandit Nehru and India provide strong encouragement. This sub-continent of 
many races, languages and creeds; this nation that stepped forward proudly to 
keep its tryst with destiny only months after its  fabric had been rent by horrifying 
communal strife; this great republic that has had to meet time and time again the 
challenges of poverty, extremism and violence; this, the largest democracy in the 
world, is proof supreme that there is no problem beyond the control of a system 
that respects the inherent dignity of man and honours him as a being fit for 
freedom and self-rule. It is the heartfelt hope of the vast majority of the people of 
Burma that our country too, on a day not far away, will become a democratic 
nation guided by the will of the people and ruled by dharma and abbaya.
 India and Burma share more than a common frontier. Buddhism which 
is the backbone of Burmese culture sprang from India soil. The tolerance, 
loving kindness, compassion and self-control that Buddhism teaches are qualities 
that are invaluable in a world made smaller but more complex and potentially very 
dangerous by the immense technological advances of our age. More than ever there 
is a need to recognise that all peoples are bound by a common humanity, to 
cultivate those traits that help us to understand one another better. More than ever
there is need for magnificent beings like Mahattama Gandhi and Pandit Nehru 
who could reach out to win alien hearts with their breadth of vision.
India today continues in the tradition of its great leaders.  It is indeed an honour 
to have been chosen to receive a prize for international understanding from 
this nation that is so close to my heart.  Mr. President and members of the 
Nehru Award Committee, may I thank you for the honour you have done my 
country, my people and myself.
Thank you.


November 13, 1995    (All BurmaYoung Monk's Union (Arakan))


The economy of Rakhine state substantially depends upon the
agriculture, fishery and forestry sectors.  But it is deplorable to
see all these sectors go under the absolute control of the
Burmese army.  The way the army imposes control can only be
compared with that of a feudal lord so that one just wonders if
feudalism is not being revived in Burma by the junta, State Law
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc).

For every construction work, especially in developing the
ridiculously outdated infrastructure of the state, slave labour is
in widespread use so that a large number of able villagers leave
their homes in search of livelihood only to find a degrading
occupation and a life of endless misery.  Homes broken and
hopes vanished, they find life contemptible.  Utter poverty and
desolation finally take the youth to the fold of the army.  Stray
youths as a last resort are compelled to join the army.


For recruitment, there are special military recruitment battalions
posted all across Rakhine.  The method adopted to enlist is also
novel!  Take the example of the Enlistment Battalion 376 based
at Kyauktaw town.  Through appointed brokers who are paid
200 kyat for each recruit, the battalion collect the would- be
candidates and send them to Sittwe where they with candidates
from 16 other townships are rounded up.

On 30th April '95, on their way back from the recruitment drive
up the Kaladan River, the E.B. 376 ordered all the young girls
of Tharaktabang and five nearby villages together to accord a
formal welcome to the newly enlisted.  The girls came no doubt,
but flatly refused to obey the orders.  The military commander
did not expect such a curt denial.  So the village leaders and
elders were given a sound dressing- down and warned of dire
consequences for any "such"' noncompliance in future.


Between April 20 and 28 the same month, the army seized three
thousand acres of privately owned rice paddies from the
villagers of Lanmadaw village under Kyauktaw township for an
artillery battalion centre to be constructed later.  The
confiscation went without any compensation to the helpless
villagers, who for generations had been working on the soil.  As
a part of the Artillery Centre project, a 120 feet wide and 4 mile
long highway across Lanmadaw - Tharaktabang road, running
right to Khaung-dok village in the north, was built.  More than
thirty thousand people, at a rate of one person from each
household, were conscripted as slaves and forced to work there
with food on one's own.

In April the heat was scorching, and the corporals' behaviour
disgusting.  As the plains dried up at that summer month, water
was scarce.  For the thousands parching in the fierce sun
consumption of undrinkable water from roadside pools and
ditches was not only essential but also compulsory for survival. 
In a short time therefore, enteric diseases broke out.  The
immediate death toll was counted 280, while ten times more
caught the ailments and about one thousand or so are feared to
have died from the after-effects.

As usual, the Slorc shamelessly lied to the world at large that
the people came to offer their share of "Buddhist merit-
making" through voluntary labour.  Well, Slorc junta, if the
poor Rakhine villagers made voluntary contribution of labour,
why did you engage those corporals of yours with arms in their
hands and foul language in their dirty mouths?  To applaud the
charitable task of "Buddhist merit -making"?

The Slorc did not stop there.  In the illegally confiscated ground, 
common villagers and the previous owners were intimidated into 
raising paddy, harvesting and carrying it to the very silos made by 
timber, bamboos and labour supplied by the villagers.

In April 1992, an area of 1,800 acres of rice field was seized
from the villagers of Daung-daw-yo at Kyauktaw township for
the 376 Enlistment Battalion.  The barracks and more than ninety 
living quarters for the battalion were made by utilizing slave labour.  
Till well through the end of 1994 slave labour was used to procure 
timber and bamboo, and to fulfil their master plan.

Loss of paternal land meant loss of livelihood and a life in ruins
for the villagers.  But it also meant a great achievement of the
Slorc's part in materializing their concerted effort to wipe out
the identity of the ethnic Rakhines by bringing them to begging. 
The battalion's greed did not stop there.  Soon they confiscated
all the ponds in the nearby villages.  As behooves the Burmese
army, the villagers were forced to supply the workers for the
fisheries of the army.  Till the catching and selling of the fish
the villagers had to work from sunrise to sunset, without any
wages paid to any of them.  The leftover small fishes could not
be sold so the village young girls were summoned to clean them
and put them to dry.  By the end of the day those girls who had
no husbands were detained for the night.

Likewise in the dairy, livestock and poultry projects taken up
for the families of the Burmese army posted everywhere in the
state, wholesale slave labour is used.  All the nearby villagers
are forced to supply the quota of feeds and fodders by turn
besides attending the chicken, pigs and cattle of the battalion. 
Village girls are forced to work there routinely and subjected to
physical assault and gang rape.

Between April and June 1993, irrigation canal projects were
implemented at Kyauktaw township.  In most of the projects
embankments of an average height of 15 feet had to be
constructed to connect natural hills and hillocks for the purpose. 
But the embankments were of different lengths; Gara Hill
embankment runs 300 feet, Mintha- chaung Creek embankment
above 1,000 feet.  To force to work harder, the corporals of
Battalion 376 acted like feudal taskmasters over the impressed,
maiming and grievously injuring dozens of the helpless
villagers.  When the closing ceremony was to be held the
battalion arranged a grand gala.  On the day when TV crew
would come and the project would be opened, soldiers were
engaged in a manner as if they had been working all along.  The
entire show was videotaped for a nationwide broadcasting.  The
military official in charge of the related department of irrigation
in his address made it public that a total of 1.2 million - kyat
was spent to implement the entire project!  Only on that very
moment in April 1995 people could know the truth at the grand
gala opening of the irrigation project arranged at Pajaingchaung
that, they had been had!  By that time there was nothing left to
air their grievances, not one little proof!  No outlet of
resentment would have been tolerated by the gun toting military
demons, so silence was obviously the golden rule!

The same method of immensely notorious exploitation and
oppression was used to build Kyatiktaw -Paletwa road between
1991 and 1994. 

Confiscation of one thousand acres of paddy fields and
horticultural hills of Lanmadaw under Kyauktaw township by
battalion 374 also carries a similar story.  Stationed at
Kyauktaw sugar mill, this battalion is still taking oppressive
and repressive measures on the local Rakhines.


Paving- stones for the roads mentioned earlier were quarried
from sites up the river Lemro.  The stones and boulders were
then loaded on boats requisitioned from the public owners.  The
whole process was done by slave labour.

As the army taskmasters goad on to hurriedly load the stones,
the wooden boats (mechanized and unmechanized) are often
cracked and damaged, causing great loss to the owners.  To be
careful at loading, the army commanders and the labourers are
usually bribed.  All the villages along the river had to supply
the cost of the labour and bear the conveyances.

In the last seven years the Slorc junta have aimed their every
effort to crush the economy of Rakhine and destroy the
economic viability of the Rakhine nationals. 


The power sector for the state can hardly meet the demands of
its 17 towns, while not one single village is provided with
electricity.  Government generators produce about 2% of the
actual demand and that is also for a few hours in the evenings,
as it was done during the British rule.

For the communications sector, the roads of Rakhine have
always been poorly built and maintained.  A mere 56 miles of
earth road and about and equal distance of rock surfaced roads
serve the road communication of the entire northern part of the
state.  Dilapidated jitneys and rickety trucks carry passengers
on these roads taking a traveler into a journey of time warp.

The waterways offer much of the communications needed for
the state.  Yet the fleet of the Government Inland water
transport department consist only of nine motor launches,
including three twin- deck remodeled versions of the Second
World War vessels trudging at 5 knots an hour, and one twin-
deck launch with a speed of 7 knots an hour.  Though there is a
demand for better and larger vessels, the public sector have not
been able to come up with any investments since the absolute
control by the military has made it financially unproductive. 
Therefore ancient rowing boats are heavily depended upon so
that perishables can hardly bring enough money for the farmers
and fishermen.  The government vessels ply two days a week on
Sittwe- Ann line, once a week on Sittwe-Taungup, three days a
week on Sittwe- Buthidaung, and twice a week on Sittwe-
Kyauktaw lines.

With military strategy in mind Pyay- Taunggup, Minbu- Ann,
and Ngathaingchaung- Gwa roads were built previously.  Very
poor conditions of these roads and dominance of military
control have made these roads not much- usable by the public.

Since 1991 a big brickfield has been set up at the Mahamuni. 
The poor Rakhine villages have been impressed to work there
without pay and without food.  The villagers are also forced to
collect firewood for the purpose.


The cross channel dam Project on the Aung- dainy river of
Sittwe were taken up in October 1994 by the Slorc.  The
purpose has been to rear shrimp on commercial basis for the

For the completion of the Project every family of Sittwe
township has to offer one worker's slave labour at least three
times in a year.  The Penalty in case of no- show is kyat 350. 
While working the towns people are subjected to rough
behaviour of the soldiers.  If by any chance any one tries to
move a little while eating for convenience, he or she is quickly
given a kick on the head.  Such instance of cruelty have made
many People maimed, blinded, or seriously wounded.  Through
the work is temporarily stopped for the monsoon, it will be
taken up as soon as the rain ceases, our correspondent added.


The army, so hungry for information, pay 30 kyat for each
piece of news to every informer they appoint throughout that
state.  People of every profession and religion are used for this


In recent months about 1,000 oppressed villagers have fled their
homes and made their ways through formidable jungles into
India (Mizoram state).  As Bangladesh is not much willing to
accept and provide help to the Buddhist Rakhine refugees (in
contrast with the Rohingya Muslim refugees), the escape to
Bangladesh is still insignificant.


VISITS THAILAND    November 14, 1995

The Deputy Prime Minister of the Slorc military government of Burma will visit
Thailand today. The visit follows hot on that of Thailand's foreign minister, Kasem
Kasemsri to Rangoon and opens the way for a planned trip to Burma by Thai Prime
Minister Banharn.

Relations between Burma and Thailand have been strained since the beginning of the
year due to a series of incidents on the border and between Thai and Burmese
nationals and we understand the desire of the Royal Thai Government to maintain
peaceful and friendly relationship with all of its neighbours. We would like to urge
caution, however, in terms of what kind of friendly relations can be built between the
democratically elected Government of Thailand and the Burmese military junta. This
military regime is, after all, the most brutal in Southeast Asia with a record of human
rights violations second only to that of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

We urge caution since, on the one hand, there is no sign that Thailand's constructive
engagement policy towards the Slorc has produced any significant move towards
democratisation in Burma while, on the other hand, the Slorc continues to treat its
neighbour, Thailand, with the same high-handed lack of respect with which it treats
its own citizens.

On behalf of the people of Burma, we the ABSDF urge the Royal Government of
Thailand to pursue relations with the Burma in accordance with the assumption that a
democratically elected government will emerge in Burma in the very near future and
to support the people of Burma in their efforts to restore democracy to Burma.

We appeal to the Royal Thai Government to make use of very contact it has with the
Slorc to urge the military junta to:

1. Unconditionally release from prison student leader Min Ko Naing and all other
political prisoners;

2. Cancel all unjust laws, in particular those which restrict the freedom of Burma's

3. Abolish the sham National Convention, and 

4. Open dialogue with the democratic forces led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and
leaders of ethnic nationalities in order to bring national reconciliation, democracy and
peace to Burma.

Central Leading Committee
Headquarters, 88 Camp


November 14, 1995

Thailand has promised Burma there will be no repeat of an 
incident in which members of Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army were 
arrested on Thai soil and allowed to return to Burma without 
being disarmed, Foreign Minister Kasem S Kasemsri said yesterday.

Kasem said he gave Burma that assurance when he met its powerful 
secretary-general Lt Gen Khin Nyunt during his two-day official 
visit to Rangoon at the invitation of his Burmese counterpart U Ohn Gyaw.

Burma has accused  Thailand of harbouring its minorities, 
particularly drug kingpin Khun Sa and his MTA troops. Thailand's 
support of Khun Sa helped MTA troops attack Tachilek township in 
Burma's Kengtung province from the Thai side early this year, 
Burma claims. Tachilek borders Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district.

Burma ordered the closure of border checkpoints in Mae Sai after 
Tachilek was attacked by the MTA. Burmese government troops are 
now in control of the province.

"The incident in which Khun Sa's troops were allowed to return 
to Burma without being disarmed will not take place again. 
Thailand is well aware that Khun Sa is a major source of drug 
trafficking, so it will do its best to end his activities," 
Kasem said at the airport upon his return from Rangoon.

Also raised during his meeting with Burmese leaders were border 
disputes along the Moei River which separates Tak's Mae Sot 
district from Burma's Myawaddy province.

The disputes prompted Burmese authorities to suspend 
construction of the Thai-Burma bridge after they accused 
Thailand of changing the banks of the river. Thai traders were 
found to have erected permanent buildings on the river bank, 
action which Rangoon said had altered the border line.

Kasem said Burma was concerned about the issue and had requested 
that Thailand return the river bank to its previous condition. 
"The matter also concerns the changing of an island in the Moei 
river. Burma asked during the meeting for Thailand to rectify 
the situation," Kasem told reporters.

Kasem proposed that Burma allow the construction on the bridge 
to resume on the same day that Thailand starts to act on the 
Burma's requests. Burma said it would consider the proposal.

Kasem's visit to Rangoon came only a few days after a group of 
Burmese fishermen killed five Thai crew members on their 
trawler. Kasem said Burma did not yet have enough information on 
the incident.

Reuters reports from Samsao, Burma:

Burma's ethnic Wa guerrilla army, condemned by international 
anti-narcotics agencies for helping unleash a flood of heroin 
from Burma's Golden Triangle, say they have launched a plan to 
wipe out opium poppies.

Leaders of the powerful guerrilla force allied to Burma's 
military government say they are serious about stamping out 
opium and the refining of the sticky black sap into heroin.

They say they have agreed with Burma's ruling State Law and 
Order Restoration Council (Slorc) to begin an eradication 
programme in four districts, here in southern Shan state on the 
Thai border and three areas in the north of the state near the 
frontier with China.

"We have to change. We have an agreement with the Burmese 
government to stop opium growing," Lin Wen, a regional commander 
of the United Wa State Army said. Lin said the Slorc has 
promised development aid for the four areas and though they have 
yet to receive any assistance they remain hopeful it is on the 

"We have to trust them, we have no other choice," Lin said. 
Burma's hilly Shan state is the main source of the world's 
supply of illicit opium and its refined from, heroin. First 
introduced to the area last century, the colourful poppies have 
flourished in the region's perfect combination of soil, climate 
and altitude.

Opium production exploded after World War II when Chinese 
nationalist troops, pushed out of their homeland by communist 
forces, controlled much of the state and ordered the patchwork 
of hill people living on the cool, high slopes to step up poppy 

The US Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement 
Affairs estimated last year's crop was more than 2,000 tonnes, 
enough to produce more than 200 tonnes of heroin. (TN)


November 14, 1995

This just from the frontiers of high finance: Burma has its 
first automated teller machine. The inauguration of the ATM drew 
quite a crowd including the Finance Minister, Brig Gen Tin Win, 
to May Flower Bank in Rangoon.

Imagine a finance minister in any other country cutting a ribbon 
to open an ATM. The chairman of May Flower Bank, U Kyi Aye, 
claims Burma has vaulted into the big leagues now, since Laos, 
Cambodia and Vietnam do not have any ATMs yet. The only drawback 
to the May Flower ATM, we suppose, it that it dispenses Burmese 
currency which is virtually worthless. (BP)


ECONOMIC ASPIRATIONS   (slightly abridged)
November 14, 1995

>From Kathina (merit-making ritual) to business trips, the Foreign
Ministry is making its move into the brave new world of global
competition. Achara Deboonme reports from Rangoon.

The Thai Foreign Ministry has been very busy, but increasingly
the schedules reflect a noticeable change from the agency's
traditional role as an institution responsible for smoothing
political relationships with the rest of the world.

Steadily, the ministry has had to function as a trade negotiator with a 
priority to tackle trade problems that Thai businessmen encounter.

"We've got only five years to complete our change or other
countries will surpass us [in terms of economic prosperity],"
said Siri Thiwaphan, chief adviser to the foreign minister.

"Experience from visits to Dubai and Johannesburg, which are
important centres in the Middle East and Africa, told us we just
can't simply be satisfied with our current status," he said.

Problems with neighbouring countries --- Burma, Laos Cambodia and
Vietnam --- which have long been kept as buffer states, as well
as the dramatic change in the global trade environment have led
the ministry to adopt the new concept.

Under the World Trade Organization and free-trade agreements such
as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) and Asean Free
Trade Area (Afta), having such buffer states was not a workable
idea. Thailand needs to render more assistance to its neighbours
so they can complement one another in achieving prosperity.

The ministry began its changing role by organizing Kathina
(Kathin merit making) rituals this year with three of its
neighbouring countries _ Cambodia, Laos and Burma _ in order to
smooth political conflicts which otherwise might hinder bilateral
economic cooperation. The ministry gave Bt500,000 to Thai temples
in the three countries and the events were supported by His
Majesty the King.

And according to Kobsak Chutikul, director general of the
ministry's economic affairs department, the Kathina might  be
held annually if the events this year lead to satisfactory results.

And according to a high-ranking official, the programme might be
enlarged to encompass other Buddhist countries.

Business trips and exhibitions have already been lined up for
next year in an attempt to improve the existing business environment 
overseas, and to explore new opportunities for Thai businessmen.

In January, trips to Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh have been
organized in a bid to help construct "quindrangle" economic
cooperation among five countries in the Indian Ocean, including

There will also be missions to the central and southern Americas
_ to countries such as Panama, Mexico and Chile _ which might be
potential sites for Thai fishery firms, as such firms have long
encountered difficulties with other Southeast Asian nations,
especially Malaysia and Burma, over fishing rights.

Investment-promotion exhibitions will be held on five world trade
areas _ Europe, the United States, Africa, the Middle East and
Australia _ to sound out the opinions of foreign business
communities and the results would hopefully determine what
direction the ministry should go.

Frankfurt, Chicago, Johannesburg, Dubai and Sydney might possibly
be locations for the exhibitions. The sixth would take place in
Bangkok in November where businessmen from around the world were
to gather at the "Thai Economic Summit".

To facilitate overseas investment, the National Economic Council
should be set up and operated in a similar manner to the National
Security Council, which safe-guards national security.

"The National Security Council succeeded in curtailing the
communist threat in Thailand as suggested by the Domino Theory.
We're now in an economic crisis and the National Economic Council
would be similarly successful in handling all our economic
difficulties," Kobsak said.

The council would comprise representatives from the public and
private sectors, he said.

Internal restructuring was also expected after the economic
summit to ensure the ministry eventually accomplishes its
ultimate goals.

In the plan, officers with economic backgrounds would become
permanent economic officers who would not be rotated to
non-economic departments. At least one would be posted to
overseas units where assistance was needed in sustaining
Thailand's economic security, besides its political security.

The officers might one day be promoted to become economic
diplomats who would work as negotiators assisting conventional
diplomats. And there might be an economic permanent secretary.

"The private sector has the potential [to penetrate- overseas
businesses] but they need to cooperate with the public sector
rather than doing it alone. To boost the private sector's competitiveness, 
changes must be done now or we will not be able to adjust to the changing 
world, especially concerning 2020 when Apec's trade agreements would 
lead to full liberalization in the region," he said.

Said Siri: "Without any new attempts, we cannot sustain economic
growth, not to mention living up to the forecast that Thailand
will become the world's 8th largest economy by the year 2020."


FOR THAILAND	  (slightly abridged)		
November 14, 1995    Report: Supapohn Kanwerayotin    Rangoon

Robe ceremony heralds culture drive

THE KATHIN robe offering at Nagalaigu temple in Rangoon last week
capped the first of Thailand's efforts to build cultural ties
with predominantly Buddhist neighbours.

For the first time in mainland Southeast Asia's modern history, a
Thai Foreign Ministry delegation took a set of kathin robes,
sponsored by His Majesty the King, to Buddhist monasteries in
Laos, Cambodia and Burma.

Kathin is the annual tradition of presenting saffron robes to
monks and novices at the end of Buddhist Lent.

"This exercise has been an overwhelming success," said Gen Siri
Thiwaphan, chief adviser to Foreign Minister Kasem S. Kasemsri.
Gen Siri headed the kathin delegation on a tour of the countries'
capitals which began mid-October and ended in Rangoon last week.

Improving ties between Thailand and Laos made it possible for
Thailand's royally-sponsored robes to arrive at Wat
Phrathatluangnua in Vientiane on October 15, with the Thai
representatives crossing into Laos over the Friendship Bridge.

Each set of kathin offerings from Thailand to key temples of
Laos, Cambodia and Burma consisted of robes, necessities for
monks, a 10,000-baht donation from His Majesty and 500,000 baht
in donations from the Foreign Ministry.

With the majority of Thais being Buddhist, donations also came
from Thai Embassy staff as well as members of the Thai community
in these countries.

In Cambodia, the Foreign Ministry described as "historic" the
arrival of the kathin-bearers at Wat Supanuwong Rattanaram, the
monastery frequented by the Norodom family.

Laotian Deputy Foreign Minister Phongsavad Buppha, Prince
Sirivudh and Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister Nyunt Swe all joined
the pali chant of blessings and acknowledged receipt of the robes.

"Thai and Burmese Buddhists are very close because we can both
chant namo," said Buddanta Zagarabhivamtha, the abbot of Wat
Nagalaigu in Rangoon, who presided over the ceremony.

The Burmese hosts proposed Nagalaigu as a recipient of the kathin
as the old temple provides shelter and education for many monks and 
novices from -various ethnic groups from remote and border areas of Burma.

A total of 665 monks and novices live in this temple which is
reputed to be frequented by leading members of the ruling State
Law and Order Restoration Council. The abbot is the youngest
member of Burma's Ecclesiastical Council of which most are senior
monks of advanced age.

With the success of this year's kathin tour, Thai officials are
considering the inclusion of Vietnam and China's southern
province of Yunnan for the next cultural exchange.


November 14, 1995

THE murder of six Thais on a trawler allegedly by Burmese
'crewmembers over a week ago will be among the topics for
discussion with Burmese Deputy Prime Minister Maung Maung Khin
during his official five-day visit beginning today, Deputy Prime
Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said yesterday.

The New Aspiration Party leader, however, said it would be
inappropriate for Burmese students to protest against the Burmese
Deputy Prime Minister.

"Since he [Vice Admiral Maung Maung Khin] is guest of the Thai
Government, they should not resort to protests," said Gen
Chavalit, who is also Defence Minister.

The Burmese Deputy Prime Minister is visiting Thailand as guest
of Gen Chavalit.

Topics for discussion during his visit include border problems
which led to the closure of Thai-Burmese border checkpoints and
the recent murder of six Thais, allegedly by Burmese crewmen on a
trawler in Burmese waters last Sunday.

Gen Chavalit said both the Thai and Burmese government have tried
to solve the problems through negotiations.

Concerning the November 6 murders, he said the Burmese government
had arrested 13 suspects, the same as Thailand had done with Thai
suspects in the murder of Burmese crew on board a Thai fishing
boat in August.

Gen Chavalit said the matter will be raised for discussion with
Maung Maung Khin.

Moreover, the foreign ministries of the two countries as well as
military attaches have been in contact to solve all problems, he said.

To prevent a recurrence of the incidents, Deputy Agriculture
Minister Monthon Kraiwatnusorn has travelled to Burma for talks
with his Burmese counterpart. They are expected to mete out
measures for joint inspection and control of fishing operations
Gen Chavalit added.

Meanwhile, Burmese leader Gen Than Shwe will attend the summit
meeting in Bangkok next month of the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations Burmese diplomatic sources said in Rangoon yesterday.

Than Shwe's visit, the first by a Burmese leader to Thailand
since the military seized power in 1988, will be preceded by a
visit to Rangoon by Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa the
sources who requested anonymity told AP.

Concerning the recent shooting of a Thai fishing boat by
Malaysian authorities in which two Thai crewmen were killed, Gen
Chavalit said the matter will be discussed at the meeting of the
Thai-Malaysian border committee in Malaysia later this month.

Deputy Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, meanwhile, said the
problems concerning the Thai fishing boats, both with Burma and
Malaysia, were raised for discussion at yesterday's meeting of
the Council of Economic Ministers.

Army Commander-in-Chief Pramon Palasin, meanwhile said he was of
the opinion that more effective coordination between Thailand and
Burma is needed to solve border problems, which, he said, would
not escalate to affect the relations between the two countries.


November 14, 1995    by Nussara Sawatsawang     Rangoon

THAILAND has agreed to dismantle the causeway it built on a
section of the Moei River, the Foreign Minister announced yesterday.

The agreement opens the way for work to be resumed on the
Thai-Burmese Friendship Bridge, Kasem S. Kasemsri said at the end
of a two-day visit to Rangoon.

It means that relations between Thailand and Burma are "back on
track," Kasem claimed.

But despite talks lasting three days, the Thai delegation has
failed to convince the Burmese to reopen border checkpoints.

The causeway was discussed by Kasem and Gen Than Shwe, chairman
of the State Law and Order Restoration Council, at yesterday's
courtesy session.

Than Shwe said that the moment Thailand began clearing the
causeway on its side of Moei River, Burma would give the green
light for work on the bridge to continue.

The causeway on the Thai side of the Moei River was built several
years ago by Thai business concerns to close the gap between an
islet in the middle of the river and the Thai bank.

Rangoon considers the construction of this man-made facility a
bid to alter the border demarcation, and has demanded that
Thailand restore the waterway that separates the islet and Thai territory.

"I'll report this to Khun Banharn. I'm confident the Thai
government will try to return things to their previous condition,
since we have no intention of annexing the islet," Kasem said.

The removal of the causeway will be carried out on the basis of
the 1868 Thai-British Convention, which provides for the
respective river banks to demarcate the borders, he said.

Burma called off work on the Friendship Bridge in June on the
grounds that the causeway constituted Thai encroachment on its territory.

In Rangoon, Kasem also met SLORC First Secretary Lt Gen Khin
Nyunt and Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw.

In exchange for his assurance that the Thai government would see
to it that the original watercourse was restored, Kasem proposed
that the Burmese side resume work on the Friendship Bridge, to
which his host agreed.

"They will do so as soon as we are ready to remove (the
causeway)," he told reporters after meeting Gen Than Shwe.

While the bridge problem stands a chance of being resolved, the
two sides failed to reach an agreement on the reopening of border

Burma closed its checkpoints on the border with Tak and Chiang
Rai provinces in March, alleging Thai support for Karen ethnic
rebels and drug warlord Khun Sa.

Kasem played down reports of SLORC's demand for compensation for
the deaths of Burmese nationals in Chiang Rai and Ranong.

"It would be a matter of development cooperation, rather than
compensation," he said on Rangoon's demand for compensation as a
condition for improved ties.

He suggested local businessmen in border provinces contribute
money to the rebuilding of Tachilek, razed during the attack in

Funds raised from the Thai private sector should also go
aid relatives of the, Burmese dead.

"The local people along both sides of the border are like
brothers and sisters. If they can talk and settle the dispute,
the border can be reopened," he said.

A source said Rangoon has demanded 100 million baht in
reparations from the Thai government, claiming that Khun Sa's
troops attacked Tachilek from Thai soil.

The Foreign Ministry's Director-General for East Asian affairs,
Somboon Sa-ngiam-butr, said the Thai government could not comply
with this demand.

Doing so would mean the government conceded that it had made a
mistake a nd that it supported Khun Sa.

On the murder of seven Thai crewmen aboard a trawler, allegedly
by their Burmese counterparts, Wasem said he raised the matter
with Burmese leaders and sought cooperation on the drawing up of
rules on fisheries.


November 14, 1995

A 75-MEMBER business mission from Singapore was in Burma last
week to explore new investment and trade opportunities.
Singapore's Trade Development Board sponsored the mission,
comprising business professionals from both the government and
the private sector involved in the hotel, entertainment, exhibition, 
construction, engineering and public works industries and trading 
and financial services. The island is the second largest foreign investor 
in Burma with a total investment of $528 million in 31 projects.

Compiled from Agence France Presse and Associated Press.