[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]


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

This is a special issue including a transcript of a TV Myanmar program about
the SLORC's recent press conferences and a comment by BurmaNet.


January 8, 1997

Below is a summary of the December 31, 1996 and January 2, 1997 SLORC press
briefings which was broadcast on TV Myanmar on January 2, 1997.  During the
first press briefing, Secretary 1, Khin Nyunt, spoke to a group of
exclusively Burmese journalists.  On January 2, 1997, several members of the
SLORC were present to make an address and answer the questions of foreign
and Burmese correspondents.  The SLORC has compiled a 60 page report on the
December student demonstrations and the Christmas Day bombing. 

In the comments below, the SLORC Information Committee presents the students
as having been naively duped by the NLD and BCP into demonstrating. The
SLORC is focusing the blame on other groups in order to dilute the peoples'
sympathy for the student movement. (In particular, some people continue to
have negative feelings toward the Burma Communist Party.)  At the same time
the SLORC may be trying to indicate to the students that they will not be
punished if they agree not to demonstrate again.

In fact, some students may have consulted various individuals who were
active in pro-democracy movements in earlier periods.  But according to eye
witnesses and Rangoon sources, the demonstrations clearly reflected
widespread student frustration at the mediocre quality of education they are
receiving, their lack of political rights, and their bleak prospects for the
future.  Whether they are studying physics or geology, most expect to end up
as taxi drivers at best.

The SLORC has charged the NLD of collusion with the students because of
their similar comments on the education system in Burma today.  The fact is
the educational system is a disaster.  University curriculums must be
approved by military censors, professors and lecturers spend a good chunk of
their time patrolling the campuses for students engaging in political
activities, and there are virtually no relavant jobs for the fields from
which the students graduate.  Students have no choice over what they study
but are put into majors depending on their exam scores after high school.
Each year, dozens of new zoologists and physists graduate from the
universities with no job prospects.  

The events of the past few months reflect the unwillingness of the
government to take the students' concerns seriously.

After three students were beaten up in a restaurant in October, a group of
students asked that an accurate account of the events be broadcast in the
state-controlled media. The government ignored this request, so the students
took to the streets in order to make their concerns known.

On November 29, 1996, student leaders at Rangoon Institute of Technology
(renamed Yangon Institute of Technology) received anonymous typed letters by
post telling them to stay away from politics.  The students went to visit
the rector and demanded that he find out who was behind the letters
(suspecting it was some branch of the government), but the rector said "it's
a small matter, forget it". Their concerns dismissed, they felt enraged by
the indifference of the authorities and their lack of options.  At this
point, they began planning a demonstration for Monday, December 2, 1996.  A
large demonstration took place that night and continued into the early
morning of the third.

On December 6th morning, RIT students demonstrated again inside the campus,
demanding the right to form a student union.  About 500 went outside the
campus around 1 pm and blocked an intersection on Insein Road.  The Minister
of Education came and met with the students.

The students asked for: 
1.  the right to form a student union - he said he didn't have the power to
do that
2. the release of all detained students - he said he'd reply later
3. accurate news about what had happened and what the student demands are 

He asked them to go back to the campus, and they said they would when he
agreed to meet with them inside the campus.  But he never showed up, so the
students decided to go out again and staged a demonstration at Hledan
junction, in front of Rangoon University, that evening.

During that demonstration, students took turns standing up at a flag pole
that had been erected and making short speeches.  Below are some of the
points different student speakers made:

- university courses are supposed to last a year, but we only get a few
months, how can we learn anything like this
 (university courses were shortened in order to reduce the amount of time
students would spend on campus, thus limiting their ability to organize)

- in the libraries there are no books, there is no research department, only
some teachers have access to research books, but not the students

- all the good places in Burma, like the new hotels, are too expensive for
us, we can only know the facts about the places but we cannot experience them

- we want to meet with the head of the Education Committee (namely Secretary
1, Khin Nyunt)

- we are not "axe handles"!

- the SLORC only improves roads and builds buildings but that's not what we
want - there are no human rights here, we want our human rights,
we all deserve human rights; the gov. doesn't want us to be involved in
politics but we are human, it's our nature

What is interesting is that the university students who were protesting are
largely from the upper or upper-middle classes of Burma.  Students require
approximately 5000 kyat a month for books, hostels, and food, but government
salaries are only 1000-1500 kyat a month.  Factory workers receive only
2000-3000 kyat a month.  Only families with high incomes can afford to send
their children to the university (unless they take distance education
courses).  Even these elite students are dissatisfied enough with the SLORC
to risk long prison terms and possibly their lives by engaging in public
The government's failure to even acknowledge the students' concerns as
legitimate is driving the students toward more overt political actions. 

The students received widespread support from the public, in the form of the
provision of food, water, and money, because the public is also frustrated
with the government's total disregard for their needs and aspirations.
Until the SLORC addresses the peoples' real desires, there will be no
lasting peace or stability in Burma.  


January 2, 1997

[First section translated from Burmese]

The sixth news briefing of the Information Committee of the State Law and
Order Restoration Council [SLORC] was held in Studio A of Myanmar
Television and Radio Department on Prome Road here this morning.

Major General Aye Kyaw, head of the SLORC Information Committee and minister
of information, first extended New Year greetings and explained that at this
sixth news briefing, Colonel Thein Swe and Col. Kyaw Thein would elaborate
on the special news briefing of Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, secretary-1
of the SLORC, held on 31 December 1997. He said after the briefing by Col.
Thein Swe and Col. Kyaw Thein the authorities concerned would answer the
questions from the press. 

Air Force Col. Thein Swe, head of department of the Office of Strategic
Studies of the Ministry of Defence elaborated on the first part of the
special news briefing of Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt held on 31 December. He said: 

[Thein Swe in English] Good Morning, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Today, I will give you the brief account regarding the students'
demonstrations, how it started, and the underlying implications involving
political conspiracy and instigation by the third party. I would do the
first part, and Col. Kyaw
Thein will continue with the BCP's [Burma Communist Party] involvement in
the students demonstrations.   The principal cause that gave rise to the student
demonstrations was the dissatisfaction of some students at the manner, in
which the Yangon [Rangoon] City Development Committee Police had acted to
control a quarrel that had erupted between the three students, and some
civilians at a
restaurant at the Sawbwargyigon Highway Bus Terminal on 20 October 1996.
This feeling of dissatisfaction and mistreatment was further provoked and
aggravated in so many ways, that it finally reached the point where a large
number of students became so incensed that they got together to stage a

>From the time of the bus terminal incident a number of youths belonging to
bogus student youth organizations, who had been clandestinely working in
movements to oppose the government, infiltrated the students. They established
contacts and stepped up their subversion of the students through persons who
posed as students, and also through persons who had links with the NLD.

If you would look into the matter carefully, you will notice that the
students make certain demands within their own campus, was soon infiltrated
by persons with ulterior motives and induced the students to take to the
streets. Once the students were out of the campus, they were immediately
joined by outsiders from different walks of life and under different guises. 

I would not go into detail, as the secretary-1 of the SLORC has already
explained the day before. At present, 13 NLD members were found to have
actually taken part in the demonstrations and they have been detained. A
large number of NLD members were among the demonstrators but they evaded
arrest. We found many NLD members making speeches and calling out slogans
and leading the demonstrators. 

For instance, some of the youths, like Thiha, who was holding Bogyoke Aung
San's portrait and marching in front of the students on 7 December at the
Kamayut traffic junction, were among those who had held discussions with Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence. Another person, Thin Thin Aye, who
had made an inflammatory speech to the students at the Dagon University on 9
December to aggravate the situation, was also found to be a member of the
NLD youth organization.  And on 3 December when the authorities had to take in
424 students and 172 civilians, all of them were transferred to the care of
the faculty members and into the hands of the local law and order
restoration councils. At that time, none of them were detained. On 7
December 180 students and 83 civilians were taken away from the scene, and
all of them were handed over to their guardians.  In those incidents, there
were nonstudent troublemakers
embarking on a course of violence, and some threw stones at the security
personnel and also destroyed the traffic lights at the Kamayut traffic

Taking undue advantage of the situation, you will also notice the
announcement made by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 9 December, declaring that her
liberty had been severely restricted and her party activities were unfairly
limited, and the
authorities had unfairly ignored the grievances. That, it was said, had
consequently triggered off the present demonstrations. 

She also charged that the demonstrators had been violently suppressed and
the announcement was also aired by the BBC and also circulated abroad by
other means. In fact, the demonstrations were handled with great restraint
by the
security personnel and they were methodically dispersed. The students were
persuaded to return to their respective campuses by the faculty staff, and
the civilians were transferred to the respective township law and order
restoration councils, to be subsequently returned home. 

According to our information, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had been in touch with
some embassies in order to coordinate a plan for them to lodge protests and
to exert pressure on the government. Some of these embassies, taking the NLD
announcement at its face value, had instituted inquiries into the statement
that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had been forbidden to go about freely and had
attempted their governments to exert pressure on the Myanmar Government. 

The main reason why a request had been made to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi not to
leave her residence, was a precautionary measure to prevent untoward
incidents because of the prevailing situation. But the officials responsible
for security had made arrangements to enable her to attend and fulfil her
social obligations. Likewise, all necessary arrangements were made for
responsible NLD members to have access to her residence, for meetings and
the smooth conduct of party affairs. 

U Kyi Maung and U Tin U on the other hand have also tried to capitalize on
the events that had transpired, and made use of the foreign correspondents
present in Yangon to spread their blatant lies by giving the false and
misleading information, embarking this on the course of subversion. The
report given by U Kyi Maung and U Tin U that a laundryman died during the
demonstrations is totally unfounded. This fictitious report was published in
The Nation, Bangkok Post and also broadcasted by the VOA. 

During this process, we found that not only the NLD leadership, but also the
members of NLD who usually gather every week-end near the Saya San Market in
Bahan Township, circulated rumors that the aircraft carrying artists to
perform at the Tavoy Students Sports Festival had crashed and wagers had
been made by the people, as to whether or not the government was on the
verge of collapse and that a mass uprising was about to take place. This was
done to cause panic and terror among the people. 

During these incidents, the NLD party members, the political activists and
some members of certain diplomatic missions in Yangon followed after the
demonstrators and distributed cash and food to them. The political activists
also handed out antigovernment leaflets to drum up a larger number of
protesters and made more demands. As a result, more students at different
campuses held token protests. But in all cases students peacefully dispersed
when the faculty members explained the actual situation to them. 

During this crucial period, the government had uncovered and obtained
definite information and conclusive evidence that NLD party members and the
underground cells of the Burma Communist Party [BCP] UG's [underground], as
well as some other groups conspired to exploit and used the students to
disrupt the prevailing peace and stability in the country and to obstruct
and upset the peaceful pursuit of education and the efforts made to enhance
the system of education. 

The 1988 country wide unrest led to the formation of a large number of unlawful
organizations and associations. Unlawful organizations of many forms
proliferated under a variety of names such as All Burma Students Union, All
Myanmar Students Union, etc.  Actually, these are front organizations and
members active in these organizations are not bona fide students. Members
of these organizations infiltrate the student body to incite them frequently
and distribute anti-government literature.

After the restraining order on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was withdrawn, some
youths from these organizations had many meetings with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
in her compound. She on her part met with representatives of these unlawful
organizations and encouraged and supported their subversive activities
against the government. 

You will notice some of the points in the demands and speeches included
assertions that are identical with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi 's negative and
pessimistic views on education expressed in her roadside gatherings. The fact
that the assertions made on these speeches and the provocative propaganda
directed at the students are identical, and it was quite obvious that the
NLD was
involved in the conspiracy to incite the students. The NLD youths who were
present together with the crowd of demonstrating students, and taking the
lead in shouting slogans and instigating the students further proved the NLD

We also noticed the consistent demand made by the BCP underground cells
throughout the years were also experienced in the speeches and slogans by
the protesting students.  Col. Kyaw Thein will go into details. 

I would like to further explain the instigation by foreign broadcasting
stations and the foreign media. When the students demonstrations began in
December, false reports that the students had been brutally beaten, and
undue force has been used by the authorities appeared in the Bangkok Post,
The Nation and in the BBC and VOA broadcasts.  Organizations such as the
Asia Information Network and Human Rights-Bangkok also made false reports of
force and violence used to suppress the students. 

They also quote anonymous sources in making reports such as a diplomat in
Yangon or a medical student, or an eyewitness. This is a very popular
disinformation technique used by the Western media. Mr Dana Rohrebacher's
message, exhorting the Myanmar people, and the BBC broadcast on 25 December
about the article The Union of Myanmar in the Year 2015 are only a small
portion of many inflammatory broadcasts and publications. 
Thank you. Col. Kyaw Thein will do the second part.

[translated from Burmese]
Next, Col. Kyaw Thein, departmental head of the Office of Strategic Studies
of the Ministry of Defense, explained the second part of the special news
briefing given by SLORC Secretary-1 Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt on 31 December
dealing with
prevailing political situation in the country. 

[Kyaw Thein in English] Good morning ladies and gentlemen. My presentation
will be a summary of the SLORC Secretary-1's clarification on the
involvement of the Burma Communist Party underground movement and the
interference of some Westerners in our internal affairs. 

On the BCP underground movement involvement in the recent student
protest movements, the Secretary-1 pointed out that at his special press
briefing held in 1990, he had stated categorically that the BCP had not yet
been eliminated totally, that unseen dangers were still lurking around and
stressed the need to be alert to these dangers that posed a threat to the
State. He then touched upon how the BCP Central Committee in 1985 decided to
retrieve and raise its
deteriorating political and military situation by forming the BCP 4828
Regional Command to initiate the Underground Movement; how the BCP had
succeeded in causing the downfall of the previous government in 1988; and
how they had
manipulated Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in such a way that she had unwittingly
placed herself on the path of defying State Authority in 1989. He also said
that the BCP UG leader Yebaw Tun had, in 1990, expressed his view that to
maintain the BCP and prevent its demise, the party which began as an
underground force should return to its underground origins. 

The secretary-1 then pointed out that the BCP underground cells had thus
been lying in wait for a chance to again meddle in Myanmar politics. This,
he said
was borne out by the fact that BCP underground cell leader Nyein Si alias
Nyein Myint and his followers had conspired in the recent student protest
movements, and had laid down what demands should be made. Then an account
was given of how Nyein Si was accosted and arrested, on 7 December along
with documents and other related evidence; of the 34 youths involved in
these underground activities and also how some youths had been duped and
persuaded to join their cause by the use of false flag recruitment
techniques used by
communist recruiters. The demand for the formation of a Students Union, was
one which had been consistently made by the BCP underground people
throughout the years and the secretary-1 made this clear by focusing on the
relevant points in the correspondence between Yebaw Tun, Nyein Si and other
underground members. These correspondence are shown on the board in front of
this room in the hallway. And also about the interlinking of other insurgent
groups namely KNU, expatriate NLD group, and All Burma Students Democratic
Front [ABSDF] group. 

Concerning interference in our internal affairs by foreigners in the
post-1988 period, he had highlighted the facts together with evidence of how
some Americans were personally involved in giving political defiance training to
the various insurgent groups as well as NLD expatriates and NCGUB or
National Coalition Government Union of Burma -- the expatriate group -- and
the formation of the Political Defiance Committee under the National Council
of the Union of Burma which is headed by the Karen National Union [KNU]
insurgent group chairman, Bo Mya. The aims of the Political Defiance
Committee are: 

1. To prevent the people of Myanmar from cooperating with the State Law and
Order Restoration Council and to educate, incite and organize the people to
resist and defy authority; 

2. To increase the momentum of military and diplomatic offensives as the
people intensify their battle of defiance.

He mentioned specific cases such as: training courses given by other
Americans namely Robert Helvey and Gene Sharp to step up the political
defiance movement inside Myanmar, and also about the recent illegal
intrusion by three
Americans from the National Democratic Institute of USA which was reported
in Thai local newspapers and also about how one John Lewis, who claimed to
be from the CIA, visited the Karenni National Progressive Party and ABSDF
camps near the border inside Thailand to incite and encourage them to send
people into Myanmar to disrupt the internal situation while promising them
that if any difficulties should arise they could always contact his embassy
in Yangon. 

About the bomb explosion at the Mahapathana Cave, the Secretary-1 cited this
as an act of extreme sacrilege, a truly despicable act that would leave a
black mark in our history. The Secretary-1 added that this outrageous act
could have adversely affected immediately the good bilateral relations with
China and confirmed that this act had been perpetrated by a bomb squad
dispatched by the KNU and ABSDF insurgents in cohesion and collaboration
with aboveground
destructive elements. 

In conclusion, the Secretary-1 told the people to be aware and alert to the
fact that there were many unscrupulous and ruthless persons who would not
hesitate to bring about utter devastation in the country to realize their
own selfish ends, and requested all the peoples of the entire nation to work
hand in hand with the Government to prevent such acts of terror from ever
being committed in our
country. The correspondent here may have some more queries to make on what I
have just presented and what has been presented by Col. Thein Swe and so, I
would like to welcome them. 

Next, the authorities concerned replied to questions from local and foreign

Stephen Brooks from Asia Times. Has there been any arrest in the
Christmas bombing case? 
Kyaw Thein: Some people were called in for questioning but no arrests have
been made yet. We are still investigating. This case is still under
investigation. Thank you. 

Next, U Hla Htwe, correspondent from Nihon Keizai Shimbun, asked a
question about the bomb explosion at Kaba Aye Pagoda grounds. 

Col. Kyaw Win, department head of the Office of Strategic Studies answered
the question. He explained that the bomb blast took place about 5 or 6 feet
from the tooth relic. He said it is still being investigated to determine
whether the bomb was placed in the vase before it was brought in or if it
was placed in a flower vase that was already in front of the tooth relic. 

He said that no one can deny that once there is a bomb blast there is a
breach of security. He said the analysis showed that the bomb blast occurred
because we took account of the traditions and customs of the Buddhist
populace and permitted people to approach the relic and that is the reason
why there was a security lapse. One of the main reason is that we believed
strongly as Buddhists that such an act of sacrilege could not have occurred
in a place where the Buddha's relic was placed. The devotees had a strong
desire to view the relic at close quarters. The authorities therefore
permitted the devotees to come very close to the relic in order that they
may make some offerings and even touch the relic. Because of this there was
an unfortunate lapse in the security arrangements. 

Col. Thein Swe, departmental head from the Office of Strategic Studies, then
answered questions from Deborah Charles of Reuters. [on restrictions placed
on Aung San Suu Kyi]

Thein Swe: I think the answer is in my briefing. We have to be very careful
at the moment because of the prevailing situation. So, for her to go
outside, at present we have requested her to contact us before, so that we
can make necessary security arrangements to go outside. And for the other
persons wish to go into the compound, like some diplomats, we make prior
arrangements with her so that they go in and for the party members also we
make prior arrangements.  

Next, Mr. Shunsuke Moriyama from FUJI TV asked about the detention of 13 NLD
members. Col. Thein Swe answered as follows: 

Thein Swe: As I stated earlier, at present 13 members of the NLD are under
investigation. The process is still going on and there has been no sentence
passed at the moment.

Deputy Education Minister Dr. Than Nyunt aswered question from Deborah
Charles of Reuters about the closure of universities. Dr. Than Nyunt
explained that universities have been recessed for the December holidays.
Some University classes were suspended a few weeks before their usual
December holidays. He said most of the universities will be reopened soon. 

Stephen Brookes of Asia Times asked for confirmation of reports that a
warning was received prior to the 25 December bombing and bomb explosions
took place in early December elsewhere and asked whether the explosions were
with one another. 

Col. Kyaw Thein answered that no phone calls were made to security personnel
ahead for the bomb blast. He said there was no connection between bomb
explosions elsewhere and the explosion in the Mahapathana Cave. He said
according to reports received it is believed that the saboteurs who had
placed the bomb were likely to have been sent by the KNU and ABSDF insurgent

Stephen Brookes of Asia Times asked whether the bomb explosion would affect
negotiations between the government and the KNU. 

Col. Kyaw Win explained that negotiations with the KNU were held last month
and at the conclusion of the talks it was agreed to meet again in December.
He said our side waited until the end of December and there were no
indications from the KNU that they were ready to resume the negotiations. On
our part we are ready to resume those negotiations. 

Next, Mrs. Miriam Scarf of Israel Radio asked about allegations abroad that
Myanmar authorities are not effective in stopping drug trafficking. 

Col. Kyaw Thein dismissed the foreign allegations as false and groundless.
He said these false allegations are aimed at discrediting our government, as
well as the law enforcement agencies in charge of narcotics control.  He
said if there are any grounds to the allegations made by the foreign media,
they should just state quite clearly who and which agency in our country is
lacking in their efforts. 

Foreign Minister U Ohn Gyaw answered a question from Mr. Jun Kamimura of
KYODO NEWS about a YOMIURI SHIMBUN correspondent. [who was beaten up by
security personnel]

U Ohn Gyaw: I will take the question. As soon as the incident took place, I
believe the Japanese Embassy requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to
communicate with the authorities. And then we explained to the Japanese
Embassy that this is a situation where anybody from outside could easily be
sucked into the problem. That was the reason why, even though there are
certain arrangements made for the press, it was very difficult to protect
one person who had gone into the line-- into the crowd--and that was the
reason why in clearing the crowd there may have been some action taken
against him. But
there never was any official complaint. And anybody, if there is any
commotion or any group moving, the press included, if they are in the crowd,
then of course the security personnel may not be able to identify them and
then take out: Oh, please come and do not go into there. This is not a
situation when this incident took place. [preceding two sentences as heard]

Also on this matter, Col. Kyaw Win said he would like to add to the
explanation. When the incident occurred, U Sein Win [head of the Foreign
Correspondents Club in Rangoon] called him that morning and informed him
about it. As soon as it was learned that morning, even before details were
available, necessary action was taken to provide humanitarian assistance to
the injured correspondent. Major Win Maung Maung was sent to U Myo Thant's
residence to see what assistance he would need. He said we gave him all the
humanitarian assistance he needed. He added: As stated earlier, all the
necessary assistance was provided to the journalist, including the
humanitarian assistance and medical assistance that he needed. He said the
incident took place surrounded by confusion, just as Minister U Ohn Gyaw had

Foreign Minister U Ohn Gyaw answered a question from Mr. Greg Torode of the

U Ohn Gyaw: As far as the movement of the diplomats are concerned in our
country, of course, it will be in accordance with the Vienna Convention.
In as much as the Vienna Convention is concerned, there are certain
obligations and certain duties for those people who are coming into our
country. And, of course, the government has also the obligation to look
after them in accordance
with diplomats practice. That is the reason why those who went beyond the
capacity of the mandate of the Vienna Convention, of course, they will be
responsible for whatever action they have taken. We do not particularly take
single case to protest this and that. Of course, we assume since our foreign
policy is such that we are trying to be friendly with every country, so we
expected those people coming to our country will promote friendship rather
then enmity. That was the reason why your question when we have stated the
expression in the media that certain personnel are not behaving in
accordance with the etiquette and the discipline of a diplomat. Then, of
course, this is what we are going to do. We will reflect our views in the
press. But to protest
or to do certain stern measures is, of course, in accordance with the limit
of our tolerance. Whenever there is anything more than what we cannot
tolerate, then of course it will be in accordance with our action like any
other country. And,
as much as the tolerance is concerned, you will see that we are very much
tolerant. You see, whenever any incident happened, of course, we many times
we cautioned to the diplomatic corps that because it can be dangerous if you are
going to mix with the crowd whenever there is any protest or any
demonstration. So this is what we are trying to convince them. The next
question I think is concerning with ASEAN, right ? 

Yes, of course. Whatever we are doing in the United Nations, out of the 185
agenda items, Myanmar is only one item. That item is Agenda Item 110-C,
regarding so-called Human Rights Situation in Myanmar, and it has been there
for five years successively. Each year, whenever a draft resolution was
passed, then we dissociated with the draft resolution because there were
many intrusions into our internal affairs and wrong allegations and
accusations regarding our human rights standards. That was the reason why
whenever there is any move coming from a group of countries calling
themselves as the international community, then we together with
neighbouring countries, particularly
the ASEAN countries, we explain to them we try to reach those who are trying
to put pressure on us through ASEAN delegates ambassadors. That is the way
we are working. And, of course, since you are here in our country you will see
that whatever has been accused or alleged in the UN or whereever, you will
find that it is untrue. 

Col. Kyaw Thein answered a question about the Christmas Day bombing from
Stephen Brookes of ASIA TIMES. 

Col. Kyaw Thein said he could not give any exact answer to that question,
but the motive behind this bomb explosion was not only to adversely affect
the good bilateral relations with China, but it may also have had other
motives. The first objective may be to discredit the government. He said the
explosion took place following the recent student demonstrations.  From the
assessment of the motive, it is believed that the KNU insurgents group is
responsible for the explosion. From the early 70's until the present, the
KNU has been responsible for all of the bomb explosions. Therefore, one can
say that this act also originated with the KNU. Another fact is that only
the KNU insurgents have access to the sort of explosive devices used. In
fact, it is not easy to place
a bomb in the Mahapasana Cave. It was not easy because, as Col. Kyaw Win
explained, the bomb exploded because of a breach of security, even though we
placed a large number of security people inside the cave. Access was needed
to plant the bomb. So it is likely those responsible are underground
elements or their supporters. It could also have been someone who actually
can go in and out of the cave as a normal citizen. Investigations are
continuing on this matter. 

Brigadier General Aung Thein, secretary of the National Convention Convening
Commission and member of the Information Committee, answered a question from
Mr. Jun Kamimura of KYODO about the resumption of the National

Brig. Gen. Aung Thein explained that all are aware of the meetings being
held continuously by the National Convention Convening Commission and that
this is the preparatory process for the convening of the National Convention. 

Answering a question from Deborah Charles of REUTERS, Brig. Gen. Aung Thein
explained that the convening of the National Convention is indeed to draft
the constitution. 

Next, Foreign Minister U Ohn Gyaw explained the constitution drafting
process. He said that 104 guidelines for drafting the constitution had been
drawn up. He said the convention, which opened with 700 delegates, has
currently reached the halfway point. There are a few topics that are very
important for national reconsolidation. He said our objective is to ensure
national reconsolidation,
particularly of the national races. We have reached a consensus that it
should be a presidential type of constitution. It has also been agreed that
there will be a
bicameral legislature. We have agreed upon areas for those national races
that did not receive due recognition in the two previous constitutions. The
separation of the legislature, executive and judiciary have been agreed to
by the consensus of the convention delegates. When the National Convention
is resumed, focus will be on the distribution of state powers. At the center
there will be a Parliament and Legislature. At the same time, states and
divisions will
also have their own legislatures. There will be a chief minister. How the
power will be shared is now being discussed at the committee level. 

Brig. Gen. Aung Thein said the journalist's question [on the constitution]
has been answered many times on previous occasions. He explained that the
National Convention process is to adopt basic principles that will be
amended into the constitution later by another committee. 

Answering a question from Mrs. Miriam Scarf of Israel Radio, Foreign
Minister U Ohn Gyaw explained that the National Convention process will take
up certain points the journalist had asked. Whether there will be succeeding
actions will be in accordance with the constitution. We currently do not
know what the constitution will be. What we are trying to do presently is to
have a strong constitution in order for the national races to be together,
to be a
union. We are doing this in our own way. 

Answering a question from Mr. Shimazu of NHK about entry into ASEAN, Foreign
Minister U Ohn Gyaw said he believed as a correspondent he should know that
the cardinal principle of ASEAN is that there should not be any
interference in the internal affairs of other countries. This is the
cardinal principle. As far as the ASEAN principles are concerned, we are
trying to fulfill our obligations regarding the technical aspects, our
contribution toward stability in the region, and our friendship and
cooperation with neighbouring countries.
These are the objectives of ASEAN. 

He explained that there can be unstable situation at times in any country
around the world, and such difficulties are likely to be confronted in the
development process. This is what we are encountering. As for our
government, we are
trying to assure the population that peace and stability will be maintained,
so this is an internal affair. What we can do for our people regarding
stability also contributes to regional stability.  

The sixth press briefing of the SLORC Information Committee ended at 1030.