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Burmese troops occupy disputed isla

Burmese troops occupy disputed island
BANGKOK, (UPI) _ Burmese troops are reported to have built two watchtowers and 
are digging bunkers on a disputed island along the ill- defined border between 
Burma and Thailand. 
The island, located in the Moei River that divides northern Thailand from 
Burma, has been the subject of a long-running dispute between the two 
Major Chirawat Wongpiyanarong, secretary to the Local Thai Border Committee, 
is quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying the construction of the fortifications 
by the Burmese army violates a bilateral agreement to withdraw troops from the 
disputed island. 
The island, covering 79 acres (200 rai), was created in 1994-1995 when the 
Moei River changed course during flooding. 
During negotiations with the Burmese, Thai officials suggested that the border 
be demarcated with the use of aerial photos but the Burmese did not reply to 
the suggestion. 
About 20 Thai families who settled near the disputed area are reported to have 
fled because they feared being shot by the newly arrived Burmese troops. 
During last week's parliamentary censure debate against Thai Prime Minister 
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, members of the opposition accused the premier of 
agreeing to cede the land to Burma in return for the opening of a so-called 
Friendship Bridge linking Burma with the northern Thai province of Tak.