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About the BURMA/ASEAN membership (A
Subject: About the BURMA/ASEAN membership (AW 3/2/89)
/* posted 13 Jan 6:00am 1997 by drunoo@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:reg.burma */
/* --------------" Notes on BURMA/ASEAN Membership "--------------- */
[ According to our records, the SLORC do not have a great interest to
join ASEAN, until recently. The SLORC attitude towards ASEAN appears to
have changed, at least on the surface, since July last year. Following
Asiaweek interview with Gen. Saw Maung in 89 indicate that there were no
plan to join ASEAN and to make ceasefire with ethnic rebels.
After Gen. Saw Maung resigned in 1992, various ceasefire agreement with
ethnic rebels were made; but the SLORC interest to join ASEAN is shown
just recently. Have the SLORC's policies been changed ?
I suppose the SLORC, as a military regime, do not necessarily have any
"policy" in terms of politics. What we have seen are the SLORC's instantive
response for survival. The SLORC is approaching ASEAN, in a desperate
measures, to resurrect SLORC's losing international legitimacy. Some
members of ASEAN certainly are sympathetic about SLORC's situation and
go an extraordinary length on trying to save SLORC's neck. -- U Ne Oo.]
ASIAWEEK, FEBRUARY 3, 1989: PERSPECTIVES
Saw Maung on Friends and Enemies
During his three-hour interview with Asiaweek Jan.17 (1989), Burmese leader
Gen.Saw Maung made pointed observations about regional personalities and
domestic adversaries. Samples:
ON HOW BURMA COMPRES WITH NATIONS THAT HAVE MOVED FROM MILITARY TO CIVILIAN
GOVERNMENT: One thing you cannot do is compare the Burmese situation to
external situations ... We know what's happening in the Philippines and
Pakistan and Korea. We have our own researchers. In the case of Pakistan,
you had President Zia-ul Haq, he was in the armed forces, he retired and
formed a political party and took over the reins of leadership. This is not
the same in our case. We in the armed forces are not backed up by a
You cannot compare the Philippine situation [during the military revolt of
1986] with the Burmese situation. Our armed forces are united. Just as the
Philippines, there were moves made to divide the armed forces [during the
1988 demonstrations]. But it was not successful in our case.
There are many countries where the armed forces have assumed state power.
Because of our foreign policy I'll be very cautious in my comments about
this. What mormally happens is that politicans are sent to jail. Look at
the case of Pakistan, just as an example. We can look at Egypt, Anwar
Sadat. These countries are our friends: I'm just taking them out as
examples. This is not the case in Burma.
ON WHETHER THAI ARMED FORCES CHIEF GEN.CHAOVALIT YONGHAIYUTH IS ONE OF HIS
MENTORS: Chaovalit does not learn from me, I do not learn from him. But we
have exchange of views on matters such as poaching and fishing in our
waters, the [economic] open-door policy, things like that. Although we met
only recently, I don't know why, we are like brothers. At one time, I said
it is time for me to go, to be pensioned off. He said: My brother, don't go
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF BURMA APPLYING TO JOIN ASEAN: At the present, this is
not a priority. We don't have time for it.
ON COMMUNIST INFLUENCE DURING LAST YEAR'S REVOLT: It is true that the
movement for democracy began with the students. But we found that the
influence of the lefitists had taken over the movement. And especially I
speak now of the Burma Communist Party. If we look back in history, back to
1947, we find that the slogans, the models, that they've been shouting
today are very similary to those slogans that occurred so many years ago.
Now during the time that we were having disturbances in Rangoon, as you're
aware we had the Mong Yang battle [in Shan State], where the BCP
[outnumbered the military and] took over the area. We feel there is some
[connection] in this. On the one side they agitate for riots and
beheadings, anarchy in the city. On the other hand they give pressure by
military means in the countryside.
ON ETHNIC INSURGENCY: We have no plans whatsoever for a ceasefire. I can't
spead for the next government. .. From 1947 to the present we had leftist
influences trying to divide the country, giving aid and comfort to the
Karen insurgents, the Kachin insurgents and so on. Now the whole world is
aware that the Kachin insurgent [leader] Brang Seng is trafficking in
opium. We don't know from what quarters help was given but he went all over
the world, to West Germany, Japan, the U.K., and that give us a lot of
ON THE OPPOSITION: You need full discipline to enjoy full democracy. The
problem is not with the public. It is the parties. If we say something,
they just want to counter it. ... I will say something about the election.
The National League for DEmocracy is very popular here, internationally
also. Who was in the party before ? Gen. Aung Gyi was chairman. Aung San
Suu Kyi was secretary. Now U Aung Gyi has his own party, the UNDP. What is
U Aung Gyi saying ? That he's still president of the NLD. So who's goint to
solve their problem ? Not me.