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BurmaNet News February 3, 1996

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"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: February 3, 1996
Issue #337

Noted in Passing:

		Now we are fully involved in economic development 
		work. We don't have enough time for a dialogue with her.
		- Lt. General Kyaw Ba, Minister of Hotels and Tourism 
		on Aung San Suu Kyi.


February 1, 1996

By Supapohn Kanwerayotin and Nussara Sawatsawang

The junta is too busy preparing for Burma's economic takeoff to
hold talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a  senior
military  official said yesterday.

Economic factors had to take priority over talks with the leader
of the National League for Democracy, said Hotels and Tourism
Minister Kyaw Ba.

"This is not the time for dialogue but the time to work, he said.
"We must first see to it that the people get rich."

"Now we are fully involved in economic development work. We don't
have enough time for a dialogue with her," said the official of
the State Law and Order Restoration Council.

"We must focus en boosting agricultural production and creating
jobs for the people," he said.

On Tuesday, a gathering of central and local official in a
quarterly development review concluded with Gen. Than Shwe, SLORC
chairman, saying political stability would facilitate the
drafting of a constitution.

The task is being carried out by the National Convention, whose
delegates were hand-picked by the SLOC.

Gen. Than Shwe urged "constant vigilance against possible
destructive and disruptive acts from inside and outside to hinder
the emergence of the constitution". 

According to Lt. Gen. Kyaw Ba, the NLD leader would also be
denied a role in the economic development drive because she has
"no experience in the country" and "lacks historical background"
of the independence struggle.

The junta had weathered hardship with scant foreign aid in recent
years and therefore saw no need to win United States' endorsement
for access to loans from financial institutions such as the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund. 

"The Japanese, Germans, French and South Koreans are developing a
positive attitude towards us," he said. "The United Nations
Development Program has given us $.52 million in aid this year
and in the very near future and in a big moment, more donors.

"We are not worried. As long as we keep up our good work, they
can come and see with their own eyes that they should give loans
to Myanmar (Burma)," he said.
On Tuesday, a gathering of central and local officials in a quarterly 
development review concluded with Gen Than Shwe, SLORC chairman, 
saying political stability would facilitate the drafting of a constitution.

The task is being carried out by the National Convention, whose
delegates were handpicked by the SLORC.

Gen Than Shwe urged "constant vigilance against possible
destructive and disruptive acts from inside and outside to hinder
the emergence of the Constitution".

According to Lt-Gen Kyaw Ba, the NLD leader would also be denied
a role in the economic development drive because she has "no
experience in the country" and "lacks historical background" of
the independence struggle.

The junta had weathered hardship with scant foreign aid in recent
years and therefore saw no need to win United States' endorsement
for access to loans from financial institutions such as the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund.

"The Japanese, Germans, French and South Korea: developing a
positive at towards us," he said. United Nations Develop
Programme has given u million in aid this year a the very near
future in a big moment, more donor "We are not worried long as we
keep up our work, they can come an with their own eyes that
should give loans to Myanmar (Burma)," he said.


February 2, 1996

BURMESE troops massed for an assault on the southern outposts of
ethnic Karenni rebels along the Thai border awaited supplies
after separate divisions took hill positions to the north, a
Karenni source said yesterday.

About 4,000 Burmese troops had massed near Kauk Kauk in the south
of Burma's eastern Kayah state opposite Mae Hong Son, and a party
of 70 porters was being escorted into the area with supplies, the
source sald in a statement.
The porters, usually villagers abducted and forced into service,
included more than 10 women, the statement said.

An offensive was expected in the Kauk Kauk area when the
additional food and ammunition arrived, it said.

The Karennis have only about 1,000 armed fighters, a Karenni
source said.

On Monday, another 4,000 Burmese troops pushed Karenni National
Progressive Party forces out of hilltop bases to the north in the
Hta Na Khwe area with a two-pronged assault, the sources said.

KNPP forces were pinned down with heavy guns while forces of the
Karenni National People's Liberation Front were "forced to lead
the assault," the statement said.

The KPNLF was a "communist" group which split from the KNPP: more
than six years ago and has been cooperating with the Burmese
governmett for the paG -year, the sources said.

The ruling junta has had a string of successes along the Thai
border in the last year, but the Karennis and other larger ethnic
groups still hold territory in the interior and on the borders
with Laos and China.

Ethnic Shan groups will continue the struggle for an independent
state in eastern Burma abandoned by opium warlord Khun Sa, Shan
sources said Wednesday.

"The Shan State National Army has about 8,000 troops including
runaways from Khun Sa, and the SSA has about 4,000 troops, so
they have about 12,000 men altogether," a Shan source said.

The MTA was believed to have about 20,000 troops under arms last
year before a breakaway group led by Kan Yod accused Khun Sa of
favouring ethnic Chinese over Shan leaders.

Kan Yod had about 3,000 fighters when he formed the SSNA late
last year. This climbed to about 6,000 by the time Khun Sa
surrendered as former MTA troops crossed to his side in groups of
a few hundred at a time, the source said.

The SSNA's strength rose further as surrendering MTA soldiers,
given money and promlsed a ride home, were taken as labourers to
build a new road to their former headquarters at Ho Mong another
Shan source said.

The Burmese government has stationed about 5,000 troops at Ho
Mong, near the border with Mae Hong Son, and another 6,000
further east at Bang Kawm Kaw, north of Chiang Mai, the sources said.

The State Army, military arm of the Shan State Progressive Party,
has existed since 1964._ AFP


February 2, 1996    Reuter

Singapore_ Burma's prodemocracy opposition leader Aung San Suu
Kyi said yesterday the Association of Southeast Nations should
set conditions for Burma's military leadership before welcoming
it into Regional grouping.

Burma is seeking membership of Asean which groups Brunei,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam..

In an interview with Television Corporation of Singapore(TSC) in
Rangoon, Aung San Suu Kyi said Asean had long pursued a policy of
constructive engagement towards Burma.

But she said the policy should involve the country's democratic
forces as well as the Burma's military government.

Constructive engagement is meant to bring about change but now
many people see constructive engagement as an endorsement of the
status quo.

"There should be constructive engagement with both sides, that is
to say those are against democracy. Otherwise it cannot really be
called a constructive engagement," she said.


OF RANGOON  February 2, 1996
Teakaplaw, Burma, AP

THE leader of the last major ethnic rebel group holding out
against Burma's military government vowed on Wednesday to carry
their battle to the streets of the country's cities. 

Gen Bo Mya said he planned soon to launch an urban guerrilla
campaign to try to relieve pressure from government troops on his
outnumbered Karen fighters in their strongholds along Burma's
eastern border.

This shift in tactics is the only way the Karens can expect to
win autonomy from the military rulers, he said.

"We have to use conventional warfare. We have to use guerrilla
warfare. We're going to make more attacks in the cities," he said.

Bo Mya refused to say what kind of targets would be chosen in
Rangoon and other population centres. But he said his fighters
would take care not to attack civilians.

"We don't want to be terrorists," he said.

Bo Mya, resplendent in a new camouflage uniform, munched on betel
nuts as he spoke at his jungle base three kilometres from Tak.
His heavy jowls and relaxed manner bore out his reputation as
Burma's "gentleman guerrilla."

But Bo Mya, 69, seemed to have few illusions about the growing
threat his people were facing. Government troops, their
confidence boosted by the recent surrender of Shan drug warlord
Khun Sa, are slowly massing for what could be a decisive push
against the Karens.

One informed source in the Karen National Union said a government
attack was expected as soon as next month, once Burmese troops
complete their current offensive against the Karennis, a
neighbouring ethnic group related to the Karens.

With fresh supplies from China, the Burmese army has been growing
stronger, while Bo Mya's fighters have been forced to depend on
captured weapons and home-made ammunition, Karen leaders said.

At the same time, they hoped to see an end to foreign business
deals with Burma. Trade and investment would only prop up the
Burmese economy and strengthen the ruling generals, they said. 

"If we don't get help from other countries or the international
community, we can't defeat them for sure," Bo Mya said.

The KNU source said the Karens were planning urban attacks in
part to scare off' potential foreign investors.


February 2, 1996
Rangoon, AP, AFP

A LEADING member of the military government acknowledged the need
to tame soaring consumer prices in remarks carried Wednesday in
state-run media.

Inflation in Burma is estimated at 35 per cent a year by foreign
economists. Despite increasing foreign investment, which is
bringing a new-found prosperity to a small segment of the population, 
many Burmese are quickly losing ground to spiralling prices.

Gen Maung Aye, deputy leader of the State Law and Order
Restoration Council said the way to curb inflation is to control
production costs.

Rampant inflation has been a theme touched upon by prodemocracy
leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In her weekly talks in Rangoon, and in
her column in a Japanese newspaper, she has detailed the
difficulties average people face because of rising prices. 

Her comments about the economy are a means of indirectly
criticising the government.

Maung Aye attributed the inflation to market-style economic
reforms instituted by the government which have produced some
growth and therefore higher prices.

The current crop of leaders came to power in 1988. Since that
time they have increasingly blamed the previous regime of Gen Ne
Win for wrecking the economy.

Visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar said
Wednesday a mutual cooperation agreement to be signed by Sri
Lanka and Burma will herald a new chapter in bilateral relations.

Kadirgamar, in talks with Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw, also
signalled Sri Lanka's interest in a proposal to form a sub-regional economic 
grouping of five countries bordering the Bay of Bengal.

The agreement with Burma would provide a framework for
cooperation in trade and economic, social and cultural matters, he said.

"It is quite significant, and is what I consider to be the
commencement of a new chapter in our old relations," he said. 

Kadirgamar, who arrived Monday at the head of a 22-member
delegation, also said he had held wide-ranging talks with Ohn
Gyaw on "ongoing developments in the Asian region."

All of Asia is alive and "on the move," and will become "the
growth centre of the world" by the next century, he said, adding
that "it is only natural for Asian countries to begin getting
closer together."

Kadirgamar said he and Ohn Gyaw also discussed the Thai proposal
in early January that India, Sri Lanka Bangladesh Burma and
Thailand form a "Bay of Bengal Rim Countries" group that would
focus entirely on economic cooperation. 

"I gave Sri Lanka's consent to belong to that regional grouping
 ... and I understand that Myanmar is considering the matter," he
told reporters.

Kadirgamar said he also had discussed with Burmese leaders the
possibility of opening direct sea and air links between Rangoon
and Colombo.


February 2, 1996   (abridged)

KHUN SA has been given a house in central Rangoon as a reward for
his defection to the State Law and Order Restoration Council, a
Mong Tai Army source said yesterday.

The heroin magnate was taken by helicopter from his former base
in Ho Mong, Shan State, on Friday to Rangoon where the house was
handed over.

SLORC officials invited Khun Sa to move in but he asked for time
to make a decision and returned to Ho Mong the same day, said the source.

Khun Sa, he said, was benefiting from his close connection with SLORC 
leaders, particularly Gen Ne Win, who had virtually adopted him as a son.


February 2, 1996
Tha Song Yang

THAILAND yesterday demanded that Burma find those responsible for
Tuesday night's attacks on Tak villages in which a number of
people were killed and many others injured.

The demand was made in an aide memoir submitted to officials of
the State Law and Order Restoration Council in Myawaddy by
administrators of this border district.

The letter said the attacks believed to have been carried out by
members of the renegade Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, would
damage relations with and Burma.

The letter was signed by Col Sajja Yodphet, deputy commander of
the Fourth Regiment's Special Task Force who is also acting
chairman of the Local Thai-Burmese Border Committee.

"Thailand will deal with any similar attacks in the future by
employing drastic measures including the use of military force as
such incidents are considered to be encroachments into Thai
territory and a threat to our sovereignty as well as that of
Burma," the letter read.

Shortly before midnight on Tuesday DKBA troops attacked a border
checkpoint and a temple in Mae Usu village with rocket-propelled
grenades and machine gun fire killing a police officer.

The DKBA troops then robbed two nearby villagers before
retreating to Burma.

Almost at the same time, another group of DKBA troops attacked a
temple in another village in the district, killing a monk and a
Karen layman.

The group then raided two villages in Tambon Mae Usu seriously
injuring one person.

A source said defences have been reinforced along the border in
this province after a report that DKBA forces under the
leadership of Maj Maung Soe plan to cross the border and attack
the Mae La Camp housing Karen refugees.

Meanwhile, over 100 families in three border villages in Tha Song
Yang yesterday began packing up their belongings fearing possible
attacks. They reportedly plan to stay with cousins or friends in
Tha Song Yang District, which is further away from the border.

Assistant police chief Lt Gen Prasan Wongyai said yesterday that
a special task force comprising 30 officers from the Tak
provincial police station has been deployed at the Mae Usu
village school in Tha Song Yang as a precaution against any
further DKBA raids.

The Thai and Burmese governments must urgently settle the
territorial dispute at Doi Lang mountain to avoid a confrontation
between troops of the two countries, according to a senior police

Police Assistant Director-General Kovid Bhakdibhumi said in
Chiang Mai that the presence of Thai and Burmese troops at Doi
Lang had unnecessarily strained relations between the two

Thai troops are camped about 500 metres away from
their Burmese counterparts.

"I am worried that the soldiers of the two sides may run out of
patience or become trigger-happy facing each other," said Pol
Lt-Gen Kovid, suggesting something be done urgently to prevent
the confrontation from escalating into armed conflict.

Both Thailand and Burma claim sovereignty over a 32
square-kilometre area of Doi Lang.

The problem has never been settled because Rangoon did not have
access to the disputed territory until early this year when drug
warlord Khun Sa and his Mong Tai Army surrendered to the Burmese
regime. Only then were Burmese government troops allowed to move
into the area.

The territorial dispute exists because the two sides hold different maps.

Lt-Gen Kovid also predicted an increase in the flow of narcotics
into Thailand from the Golden Triangle after Khun Sa's surrender
because the traffickers who had previously allied themselves with
the Mong Tai Army have broken up and are now working

During the last two months, he said police in Chiang Mai and
Chiang Rai provinces have seized over five tons of chemicals used
to produce heroin and amphetamines.

Amphetamines, he noted, have become more popular among traffickers 
because they are easier to produce and earn as much profit as heroin.


February 2, 1996

     Golden Triangle warlord Khun Sa has betrayed his comrades in
      arms and Shan nationalists fighting for the independence of
                  Burma's Shan state, argues Seng Suk.

In October last year, the world renown opium warlord Khun Sa sent
two of his trusted aides namely Lao Tai and Kyaw Myint to Rangoon
to negotiate for his conditional surrender to the Burmese junta.

The terms of the secret mission were unknown to the newly formed
Central Executive Committee of the Shan State Restoration Council
(SSRC), a political arm of Khun Sa's Mong Tai Army (MTA). The
11-member Central Executive Committee with Zao Gunjade as its
chairman was appointed on Aug 12 last year to oversee political
and military affairs.

Although Khun Sa declared his retirement and handed over power to
this political body, the committee members were kept in the dark
about his secret negotiation terms with the ruling Burmese junta,
State Law and Order Restoration Council (Slorc).

After Lao Tai and Kyaw Myint returned to the MTA headquarters,
Mongmai-Homong (Muongmai-Homuong in Thai), a meeting of the
Central Executive Committee (CEC) was called in November.
Invitations were even extended to Shan expatriates and monks
living in Thailand. One senior Shan citizen and a few monks
living in Thailand attended the forum.

The meeting was largely a ceremony declaring Khun Sa's handing
over of power to his newly reformed committee and the monks.
Although the monks could not accept such power, it nevertheless
made them happy including other CEC members and Shan nationalists
who trusted Khun Sa even more for his sincerity.

As soon as the meeting ended, Khun Sa sent his uncle Khun Seng to
Rangoon, presumably to arrange the details for his planned final
surrender to the Slorc.

The CEC members were told that Lao Tai, Kyaw Myint and Khun Seng
had gone to Rangoon to negotiate for a final dialogue between
Slorc and the CEC.

Later the CEC members presented a 10-point demand to a Slorc
delegation led by Col San Pwint. It came from a resolution
adopted at a previous CEC meeting. The demand was signed by Zao
Sam Mai SSRC vice chairman and CEC chairman, on behalf of SSRC
chairman Zao Gunjade who was unable to sign the document having
been hospitalized for brain surgery.

The Jan 1 document made the following points.

1. Military- Ceasefire with nine subpoints.

2. Drug controls- the right to have a say in control, suppression
and eradication of drugs.

3. Amnesty- three subpoints dealing with granting amnesty to the
MTA by the Slorc plus personal security.

4. Freedom of movement and rehabilitation- containing two subpoints. 

5. Supply - two subpoints dealing with food and medical supplies.

6. Business - granting licences for conducting business and commerce.

7. People- allowing villagers, who were uprooted from their homes
by the Slorc under its policy against arms insurgency, to return
to their original homes.

To release all villagers, who were arrested and jailed in alleged
connection with the MTA movement.

Burmese troops stop using local people as porters and cease the
collection of "porter money".

8. Area development - two subpoints including the right to
develop its controlled areas.

9. Communications - two subpoints demanding hotline access to
Slorc and the military high command.

10. General - four subpoints dealing with the right to appeal to
the high command and cooperation between the MTA, and Slorc.

Whatever the CEC demands were, the 3 evaluation of recent events
and information privately obtained indicates Khun Sa and Slorc
had secretly decided their late long before recent meetings.

Except for Khun Sa and his close inner circle, the rest of the
MTA face an uncertain future.

All of them will undoubtedly be subject to human rights abuses
under the Slorc as Khun Sa's mouthpiece, the Shan Newsletter, had
always predicted.

Khun Sa could be laughing his heart out at his safe haven
somewhere in Burma. But as the saying goes, every dog has its
day. The pressure will be on Khun Sa with the United States
wanting to extradite him to stand trial for heroin trafficking.

         Seng Suk is a nom-de-guerre of a former leader of the 
        Shan State Army. Since the 1970s, he has been living in 
exile but remains an avid watcher of events in his homeland.      

February 2, 1996

     Seng Suk traces the convoluted history of the opium trade in
     northeastern Burma and reflects on the implications for Shan
                State following the surrender of Khun Sa.

In 1950, opium production in Burma's 1950, opium production in
northeastern Shan State totalled 60 tonnes, concentrated mainly
in the Kokang, Wa and Kengtung areas east of the Salween River.

These areas essentially matched the path of retreat taken by the
Komintang's 93rd Division as it fled China following the
nationalists' defeat in 1949. The 93rd Division under Gen Li Me
finally settled along the Thai-Burmese border in Shan state.

By 1953, the KMT had established its headquarters at Doi Mae
Salong and Tham Ngop of Doi Mon Ang Kang on the Thai side of the
Thai-Shan state border.

With the help of the CIA they built an air field at Mong Hsat,
about 50-60 km opposite Thailand's Mae Ai district of Chiang Mai

To finance their anti-communist struggle, the 3rd Brigade
commanded by Gen Li Wan Hwong and the 5th Brigade commanded by
Gen Tuan of the 93rd Division began trading in opium, an
arrangement that was allowed, if not encouraged, by the
governments of Taiwan, certain western countries and Thailand.

As a result, production of opium in Shan State surged and by 1958
production had reached 200-250 tonnes.

Though the Thai government tacitly shared its western allies' and
Taiwan's policy concerning opium, the ruling prime minister,
Marshall Sarit Thanarat, closed all legally-licensed opium dens
in 1958 in anticipation of the adverse affects of the ever-
increasing opium production in Shan state.

The birth of the Shan independence armed movement in 1958 also
provided relatively fertile conditions to encourage the
production of opium in Shan state.

Annual opium production reached 400 tonnes in 1970, 600 tons in
1975, 800 tonnes in 1976, 1,200 tons in 1977, and 2,000 tonnes in
1980. Now it is estimated to be more than 2,400 tonnes. These
figures are based largely on the estimates of the US narcotic
authorities as reported by the international media.

A major factor in this exponential acceleration in opium
production was the military takeover in 1962 and the social,
political and economic chaos caused by dictator Ne Win's Burmese
Way to Socialism.

Among the most significant impacts was the creation of local
militias, which were encouraged to arm themselves, pay their own
salaries from their own opium profits and opium taxies. The
central government also facilitated transportation of opium to
Thailand and Laos to the east, India to the west and to Rangoon
by Burma Army military trucks and gave permission for the
establishment of storage houses at various border points and in
Rangoon for export of the opium.

But this was only the tip of the iceberg concerning the internal
conditions of the Union of Burma in respect to the drugs problem.

Up until 1975, the technical know-how to produce heroin was
unavailable in Shan state. According to the opium warlord Lo
Hsing-han, who was arrested in Thailand in 1973 and later turned
over to the Burmese authorities in Rangoon, he and other local
militia groups could at that time produce only Pho se, the Chinese 
term for morphin base, in Shan state and that only Hong Kong

People had the technical know-how to refine opium into heroin. It
seems that the Hon. Kong underworld had good connections with the
drug barons.

The remnants of KMT's 5th Brigade, the 3rd Brigade, Kokang Ka Kaw
Ye (local militia) led by Lo Hsing-han, and Loi Maw Kwe Ye led by
Khun Sa were all heavily involved in opium trade.

They were all rivals. But ironically sometimes they cooperated
for drug profit, while at other times they fought fierce battles
such as in 1968 at the Burmese-Thai-Lao Gold en Triangle border.

Most of the time the competition was vicious. 

A short time after Lo Hsing-han was released from prison and
opium competition heightened among the militia groups, the heroin
technical know-how started to arrive in Shan State, initially to
the Kokang and Loi Maw areas where the indigenous Shans of
Chinese origin were concentrated.

Throughout the 60s and 70s the western powers allowed the KMT to
use their affiliated facilities for covert transportation of
drugs with the main objective of using the KMT to contain the
spread of communism in Southeast Asia and Indochina.

At the same time the superpowers also gained from huge unseen
profits directly derived from opium and heroin trade.

These external conditions also enormously favoured great
increases in the production of opium in Shan State.

ln dealing With the increase in opium production in the Shan
state, no one can Ignore the most important factor that came into
play in this game.

That is the insatiable demand for the product. There was never
even the faintest hint of opium oversupply in the Shan state,
therefore, the implication clearly is that demand was always
outstripping supply.

US official statistics state that the United States is the end
market for 98 per cent of Shan opium and its derivatives.

The problem of this ever-increasing demand did not get the
attention it deserved because it was intentionally or
unintentionally buried along with the opium war between Khun Sa's
Mong Tai Army and his main rival, the Was, for control of opium
routes to Thailand and Khun Sa's activities. These were actually
intended to destroy the Shan independence cause after the
collapse of the Burma Communist Party in the Wa area of
Shan state.

Perhaps it is time the international community and responsible
mass media emphasizes this demand problem and give it the
attention it deserves. Khun Sa has been such a handy scapegoat,
however, that replacing him with another target of international
loathing may prove to be the better option.

This is the concluding article of a two-part series on the
history of the Shan independence movement and drugs in
Burma's Golden Triangle. The first was published on Jan 19.
Seng Suk is the nom-de-guerre of a former leader of the
Shan State Army. Since the 1970s, he has been living in exile but
he remains an avid watcher of events in his homeland.


ON SUU KYI     February 2, 1996

by-Supapohn Kanwerayotin & Nussara Sawatsawang

    Khun Sa's surrender was a hastily organised affair, for even
    the generals in Rangoon were not quite sure whether the half-
    Chinese, half-Shan opium warlord, who has always 
     proclaimed himself to be a Shan freedom fighter, had 
    something up his sleeve when he contacted a local light 
     brigade stating his wish to give up his Army.

FOR over two weeks now, Burma's state-controlled media have
churned out a steady flow of reports concerning Mong Tai Army
troops "returning to the legal fold" following the unceremonious
surrender of their leader, Khun Sa, to the Rangoon military
government in early January.

Finishing off Khun Sa's insurgency the junta whose official name
is the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) can now
turn to yet another battle_ with popular opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi whose National League for Democracy won a sweeping
majority in the May 1990 general elections.

But the Suu Kyi question is a more difficult one for SLORC as her
popularity remains uncontested despite the junta's efforts to win
popular support through religious promotion and development works.

With the MTA, still leaving various spots around Shan State to
surrender their arms and pledge allegiance to good Burmese
citizenship, Khun Sa will most likely remain in the area until
"the return to the legal fold" exercise winds up, according to a
well-informed source.

"Khun Sa is a very practical man with business acumen backed up
by an excellent information/communication network. Perhaps he has
already calculated that surrendering to SLORC is the least evil
scenario," said the source.

Khun Sa's surrender was a hastily organised affair, for even the
generals in Rangoon were not quite sure whether the half-Chinese,
half-Shan opium warlord, who has always proclaimed himself to be
a Shan freedom fighter, had something up his sleeve when he
contacted a local light brigade stating his wish to give up his army.

SLORC's powerful first secretary, Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, made a
secret trip to Mong Hsat, an area along the same latitude as
Tachilek opposite Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai province, in
mid-December during which he communicated Rangoon's instructions
to local commanders on how to handle the MTA surrender which took
place two weeks after his visit

Internal rifts within the Shan nationalists movement and among
those disenchanted with Khun Sa also precipitated the surrender.

The 12,000 MTA troops handed over a large assortment of arms
which analysts here said would be enough to replenish a few
divisions of the Burmese army.

The most obvious material gains for SLORC are the armament
factory at the MTA's headquarters in Ho Mong, along with two
well-stocked caches which include 15 surface-to-air missiles,
items SLORC does not even possess.

Sources close to him said Khun Sa has resumed the drinking and
smoking habits he previously managed to kick in order to beat
chronic anxiety and depression brought on by the US federal
indictment in 1989 against him on 10 charges of narcotics trafficking. 
Seeking shelter with SLORC seems to be the best solution.

SLORC, citing the absence of a bilateral extradition treaty, has
said it will not hand over Khun Sa to the US government. After
seeing to the shifting of alliance among his men, Khun Sa is most
likely to stand trial on drug-related offences in Rangoon where SLORC 
can assure him of protection against the mighty American tentacles.

Khun Sa looks set to sail along a course charted by SLORC which
will resemble the fate of his predecessor Loh Hsin Han, a former
key drug dealer who is living in peaceful retirement in the
northern Shan town of Lashio.

That course prescribes a trial in Rangoon, a death sentence
commuted to life imprisonment which will then be negated by
pardons allowing Khun Sa to go free after serving a reasonably
brief jail term, according to sources familiar with SLORC
thinking and Burma's justice system.

"An immediate amnesty for Khun Sa to get away with it all will
cause SLORC to lose face, making a mockery of its efforts to
create a drug buster image," said a Burmese analyst. Drug related
offences carry a penalty of 10 years imprisonment to capital
punishment in Burma.

With the Khun Sa episode running to a routine end, SLORC is up
against the Suu Kyi question it has so far refused to solve.

SLORC freed Mrs Suu Kyi from six years of house arrest last July,
but has so far shunned her calls for a dialogue on the grounds
that it is busy preparing Burma's economic take-off.

"Yet unless there's political change Burma's economy won't take
off," said E senior Burmese analyst pointing to the dilemma
facing the junta.

Eager foreign governments and inter national financial
institutions are refraining from unleashing massive loans to fund
Burma's infrastructure developments until a legitimate
government is in place. Or so it seems.

SLORC is acutely aware of its limits and the need for access to
those credits even though its public statements stress that
Burma can get by without foreign aid, confided foreign
businessmen in Rangoon.

Mrs Suu Kyi remains as popular as anti military sentiment remains
strong among ordinary Burmese.

In urban centres in the southern Shan state, people resent having
to vacate their homes to make way for city beautification or having 
to "volunteer" one labourer each per household for public works.

Inflation and the rising cost of commodities, especially rice,
have emerged lately as campaign themes for both sides. At the
same time, SLORC has vowed to rein in inflation and introduce
price-stabilising measures.

Although the Burmese people still hate the military, which is
trying to win them over through religious and development works,
stability and economic reforms have had a positive effect on
Burma to a certain degree during the six years Mrs Suu Kyi was
locked up in her home, say analysts.

The stances taken by SLORC and Mrs Suu Kyi are so rigid and so
wide apart fundamentally that a dialogue might not help, said one

As Burma opens up and foreign businessmen can no longer resist
the opportunities here, Mrs Suu Kyi will not be able to count
too heavily on external support in pressuring SLORC into
political change.

After all, the strength "lies within_ her party and the country",
and SLORC will not bow to any form of foreign pressure, the
analyst said.


February 1, 1996

You can listen to (and read along with) Aung San Suu Kyi's 
address to the UN women's conference in Beijing 8/95.

The address has been digitized and encoded as a realAudio
file.  it is easy to download and listen to.

The file and instructions can be found at 

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