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The BurmaNet News, November 12, 199

------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------          
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"          
The BurmaNet News: November 12, 1997             
Issue #866


November 5, 1997

Unofficial translation
NO. (97/B), West Shwegondine Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon

1. On 5/11/97, it was arranged for youths from the Tamwe Township NLD Office
to be assigned duties and responsibilities. The Tamwe Township NLD notified
the local Law & Order Restoration Council (LORC) Office on 3/11/97 of the
proposed arrangements. The authorities then used various unlawful means to
block, obstruct and prevent the meeting from taking place.
2. Moreover, the Tamwe Township LORC issued a letter [No. 027/1-1/Ma Wa
Ta (Ta Ma) on 4/11/97, stating:-
 ?It has been noted that the NLD has been extending its activities and
carrying out Youth Organisation in the townships.? 
 ?By so doing, the peace and tranquillity of the community and the
prevalence of Law & Order could be harmed. Further, it could also hinder
the social and economic development of the country. Therefore,
permission can not be granted regarding the letter referring to
the gathering of persons in Tamwe Township.?
 How can a groundless accusation based on opinion, such as this be made
against a legitimate organisation going about its lawful business? This
is but an absolutely untrue and groundless accusation.
3. The NLD has stood as a legitimate organisation in accordance with the
laws of the registration of political parties and has carried out its
work in line with democratic principles for democracy and human rights.
The lawful work of a legitimate political party, carried out in a lawful
way can in no way harm the peace and tranquillity of the community. It
is also totally out of context to state that it hinders social and
economic development.
4. The authorities concerned also barred the (NLD) General Secretary,
who has been given the responsibility of carrying out Youth Organisation
work, from leaving her compound. Further, Vice Chairman U Tin Oo, who
came to the compound to make enquiries about the situation, was denied
entrance to her compound.
5. Some (50) NLD Youth members and NLD Women members were arrested and taken
away. They had entered the Tamwe Township NLD Office in accordance with all
the regulations stipulated by and with the permission of the
authorities concerned.
 This (a) although no meeting was held in the office, and 
  (b) clearly there was no defiance of orders as the office was occupied
with the permission of                                    
       the authorities [one line blurred]
6. These actions against a legitimate organisation?s lawful activities
in accordance with democratic principles carried out peacefully and
calmly is but an unlawful act of obstruction. It is a very inappropriate
action. It also greatly hampers national reconciliation. The NLD is the
political party which won a landslide victory with the support of the
mass of the people in the 1990 multi-party democratic elections.

Therefore, we declare that we roundly condemn unlawful obstructions,
hindrances and limitations of the right of the NLD to carry out its
lawful activities.

Central Executive Committee
National League for Democracy
5 November 1997


November 10, 1997
Sent by: RANGOONP@xxxxxxx



Declaration by the European Union, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic,
Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and
Slovenia, concerning Burma / Myanmar 

The associated countries Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia,
Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia,
declare that they share the objectives of the common position defined by the
Council of the European Union on 28 October 1996 on the basis of Article J.2
of the Treaty on European Union concerning Burma/Myanmar, as extended by the
decision of the Council of the European Union on 20 October 1997. They will
ensure that their national policies conform to that common position. 

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it. 


November 11, 1997
Nussara Sawatsawang

Officials displeased with Prachuab: report

The European Union will not accept the inclusion of Burma and Laos in next
week's discussions on cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations, a Bangkok based European Commission official said yesterday.

The EU has made "no new position" on relations with Rangoon and will talk
only with the seven Asean member states during the Asean-EU Joint
Cooperation Committee which Thailand is hosting from November 17-19, said
the official, who asked not to be named.

Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and
Vietnam are covered by the 1980 cooperation agreement with the
15 member-strong EU.

The remark followed reports that the EU is displeased with the recent
decision by former foreign minister Prachuab Chaiyasarn to invite the two
new Asean members - Burma and Laos - to attend the meeting as observers.

In breaking the news to reporters during his visit to Rangoon on October 29,
Mr Prachuab claimed that he had received prior approval from the EU to
extend the invitations.

The EU cut off high-level ties with Rangoon nine years ago in protest of
Burma's poor record on human rights and democratisation, and the bloc
threatened to boycott the forthcoming meeting if Burmese participants were
allowed in.

An Asean diplomat said the EU would have been embarrassed by what amounted
to arm-twisting tactics by Mr Prachuab even though it has voiced no official
objection to the statement, which was made to reporters in highly-publicised
telephone interview from Rangoon.

A Foreign Ministry official close to the issue said Thailand and the EU were
still negotiating their differences over the issue of whether or not Burma
and Laos should be allowed to attend the meeting.

"If the EU is not yet ready [to attend the meeting], we may postpone it,"
the official said, adding that there would be difficulties in physical
arrangements if no agreement is reached within the next few days.

Indonesia and Malaysia are the main advocates of the Asean bid to obtain the
inclusion of Burma and Laos in the Asean-EU agreement.

They cite the principle of non-discrimination, pointing to the case of
Vietnam which was allowed to take part in Asean-EU cooperation discussions
in 1995, soon after it was admitted as Asean's seventh member state.

Vietnam's inclusion in the framework was only legalised earlier this year,
when it signed a protocol to the 1980 agreement between the two groupings.


November 11, 1997 [abridged]
AP-Dow Jones

MANILA- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will insist on
Burma's inclusion at a meeting between  the regional trade bloc and the
European Union (EU) in Thailand next week, a Philippine official said

"All the members of Asean have to be seated at that meeting in the same
way," Philippine Foreign Under-secretary Rodolfo Severino said after a
two-day meeting of senior Asean officials in Manila.

"If our guests don't like this arrangement, that is for them to decide," he

He declined to say whether Asean would boycott the meeting if European
countries insist on excluding Burma, but said cancellation of the meeting
would have implications for "the entire relationship".

He said senior Asean officials agreed on the position during the meeting in
Manila and had asked Thailand to convey it to EU officials.

Visiting Singapore in September, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said
his country would exclude Burma from a summit of Asian and European nations
in London next April because of its repression of human rights and
"connivance with the drug trade".

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reacted by saying Asean nations
might boycott the meeting in London if the European Union bars Burma.


November 11, 1997 [abridged]

RANGOON - Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi left her residence on Sunday
for the first time since authorities prevented her from going out to attend
a political meeting last week.

Suu Kyi, leader of the Nation League for Democracy (NLD), went to attend 
a memorial meeting for a member of her party who died under suspicious
circumstances in prison seven years ago.

Burma's military government confined Suu Kyi to her home last Wednesday
morning and riot police barricaded an office of her Political party to
prevent her from meeting members of its Youth wing.

Because Suu Kyi had not left her compound since being kept in on
Wednesday, rumours arose that she was being indefinitely detained. 

She attended the memorial service on Sunday at the home of the family of
Maung Ko, a member of her Party who died seven years ago in the notorious
Insein Prison.


November 11, 1997

   RANGOON, Burma (AP) _ Burma's currency, the kyat, has fallen to new
record lows against the U.S., dealers in Rangoon reported Tuesday.
   The dollar was fetching between 278 and 284 kyat from money changers
using the unofficial rate. The government maintains an official rate of
about 6 kyats to the dollar, but it is only used for state enterprises.
Nearly all other business is conducted at the unofficial rate.
   Dealers in Rangoon cited the fall of neighboring Thailand's currency, the
baht, as the cause of the kyat's decline. Under attack from speculators,
Thailand floated its currency on July 2, and it has since lost about 40
percent of its value against the dollar.
   Thailand and Burma conduct a large degree of cross-border trade, and so
currency dealers frequently hold baht in addition to the more widely-used
U.S. dollar.
   Reports have come out of border areas in recent months of the kyat
trading at about 300 to the U.S. dollar. The borders areas, with their
volatile mix of ethnic groups and some insurgents, are not as tightly
controlled by the military government.
   The kyat has been declining in large spurts since 1996, well before the
currency crisis hit Southeast Asia. Burma's currency is considered worthless
in international trading, and so is not subject to speculative attacks from
institutional investors abroad.
   Analysts in Rangoon told The Associated Press in Bangkok, that while the
Thai currency's decline is a factor in the fall of the kyat, other elements
are also contributing to its loss of value.
   Included in the mix are the military government's plummeting foreign
reserves and weak exports. Recent flooding has destroyed a significant
portion of the rice crop, although no accurate numbers detailing the damage
had yet been made available by the government.
   Largely undeveloped because of a period of socialist isolationism that
lasted from 1962-88, Burma's economy is mainly based on agriculture, with
rice being a significant export, as are beans and pulses and timber.
   Although the government has been courting foreign investors,
manufacturing accounts for less than 7 percent of gross domestic product.
   Last April, the U.S. slapped economic sanctions on Burma's military
regime for its suppression of the country's democracy movement and its
alleged failure to curb exports of drugs, chiefly opium and heroin.
   Burma depends on its Asian neighbors for most foreign investment, but
with economic troubles roiling across the continent, analysts say the regime
may have to expect less help and investment from its neighbors than it had
hoped for.
   Although the unofficial rate is the one most commonly used in Burma it is
only offered by money changers who operate outside the law.
   Earlier this year, when the kyat fell to about 260 to the dollar for a
week or so, the military government detained several money changers for
   They were later released and no charges were filed against them.
No detentions of money changers have been reported since that time.


November 10, 1997

Meeting of the Council of the Socialist International
New Delhi, India.  10-11 November 1997
Recalling the resolutions on Burma of the Council of the Socialist
International adopted in Tokyo in May 1994, in Cape Town in July 1995, in
Rome in January 1997, and the resolution of the XX Congress of the Socialist
International adopted at the United Nations in New York in September 1996,
the Socialist International:
Commends President Bill Clinton of the United Stated of America for
imposing economic sanctions against the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC) in Burma ;
Commends the European Union for extending the visa restrictions imposed on
members of SLORC and their families, and for removing privileges for SLORC
because of its extensive use of forced labour;
Commends the Labour Government of Tony Blair in the United Kingdom for its
strong stand on human rights and for its commitment to finding ways to
impose sanctions against SLORC;
Commends the Government of Denmark for its continued strong support for
the Burmese democracy movement and for hosting the exiled National
Coalition Government of the Union of Burma in Copenhagen in July 1997;
Commends the Government of Canada for also imposing sanctions against
Commends the foreign companies that have withdrawn from Burma because of
the atrocities committed by the military;
Commends the decision of the United Nations Committee for Human Rights in
Geneva to continue investigating human rights abuses in Burma and for the
secretary-general's efforts to try and bring about a tripartite dialogue
to resolve Burma's problems;
Commends the International Labour Organisation for opening an
investigation into the use of forced labour by SLORC;
Commends the Government of Norway for also removing trade privileges from
SLORC because its extensive use of forced labour;
Commends the attempts made by the Association of South East Asian Nations
(ASEAN) to bring about political dialogue between SLORC and the National
League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi;
Commends the Government of Japan for withholding aid and actively seeking
to promote change in Burma; and
Commends the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) for meeting
with the executive of the NLD, and for allowing the party to hold its
Congress in Rangoon in September 1997.
While recognising the positive developments in Burma, the Socialist
International, however:
Regrets the decision made by the Association of South East Asia Nations
(ASEAN) in July 1997 to admit SLORC as a full member without any
Regrets that SLORC is not serious seeking a political dialogue with either
the National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, other
ethnic political parties, or the ethnic national forces;
Regrets that SLORC has not seriously used the opportunities for dialogue
provided by the international community, notably the United Nations, the
European Union, ASEAN, and Japan;
Notes with grave concern the continuing deterioration of the political
situation in Burma as witnessed by the continued use of military force in
ethnic areas to bring about subjugation;
Notes with great concern the continuing harassment of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and members of the NLD as witnessed by the recent arrests of close aides;
Notes with great concern the growing economic crisis in Burma and SLORC's
inability to deal with either the economic or political problems except by
using force;
Strongly condemns SLORC's continues use of violence, gang rape, forced
labour, extortion, looting, arbitrary arrests, and summary executions, as
a primary control mechanism especially in ethnic areas;
Strongly condemns the ruling junta's use of mobs and civil front
organisations to divide the oppositions, intimidate the public and control
Strongly condemns the military regime's growing dependence and involvement
in the illegal narcotics trade;
Condemns the continued closure of universities and institutes of higher
education as a means of crowd control instead of seriously addressing the
issues of police brutality and justice demanded by students;
Condemns the junta's continued use of intimidation and force rather than
dialogue and political negotiation to resolve political problems;
Condemns the recent arrests of trade union activists and close aides and
relatives of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on false charges of terrorism;
Calls on the United Nations secretary-general to urgently address the
question of Burma and to make a concerted effort to implement General
Assembly resolutions, which have been ignored by the Burmese Regime;
Calls on all member parties to establish party-to-party contacts with the
NLD led Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in order to determine how change can be
brought to Burma;
Calls on all member parties who are in governments or in a position to
influence policy to seriously examine options for action to bring about
change in Burma either unilaterally or multilaterally;
Strongly urges TOTAL S.A. of France, UNOCAL of United States, Nippon Oil
of Japan, and Premier of Britain, to withdraw or suspend their operations
in Burma, especially in ethnic areas, are ended;
Strongly urges SLORC to release all political prisoners, and to lift all
laws restricting fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of speech,
assembly, association, the press, and the right to draft the constitution;
Strongly urges SLORC to began a genuine political dialogue with Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi, all political parties and Burma's ethnic peoples. 

November 11, 1997
Don Pathan

Foreign ministers represent the policies of their respective countries and
must be careful what they say. Unfortunately, Prachuab Chaiyasan does not
seem to have come to terms with that part of the job, writes The Nation's
Don Pathan.

Confusing and non-provocative words are the familiar trait of out-going
Foreign Minister Prachuab Chaiyasan, but lately the man has been creeping
into a dangerous realm of uncertainty that may further tarnish his 11-month
tenure at Saranrom Palace.

During a recent press conference via telephone from Rangoon, Prachuab told
reporters in Bangkok he would never ask to meet government opposition leader
Aung San Suu Kyi, hinting that the lady who was awarded a Nobel Prize for
her fight for human rights and democracy was not worth his precious Time.

"Who is she and who am I?" said Prachuab, when asked if he met Suu Kyi
during his two-day official visit to Rangoon.

"I'm a foreign minister and she is a government opposition leader. She would
have to make the request if she wants to see me," he said.

"But the Philippine Secretary of State Domingo Siazon had a meeting with her
during his official trip to Burma," pushed one reporter.

Prachuab's response: "I only knew about it through the newspaper."

The question of whether Suu Kyi is worth anybody's time is beside the point.
What was disturbing is Thailand's pretentious attitude and its ill-defined
policy toward Burma whether it is with Bangkok's dealing with the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc), one of the world's most condemned
ruling juntas, or the Thai government's attitude towards the National League
of Democracy (NLD), the opposition group which won a landslide election
victory in 1990 but was denied its right to rule by the military.

But Prachuab praised the meeting between senior NLD officials and Slorc
secretary-general Lt Gen Khin Nyunt, suggesting that the meeting was a
breakthrough for national reconciliation in Burma.

In the same breath, the foreign minister strongly dismissed the importance
of a meeting with the NLD leader.

Moreover, his statement could have easily offended the Philippine foreign
minister, who had obviously thought it was not a waste of his time to meet
the woman who serves as the hope for the Burmese people. If Prachuab looked
back at the past year, he would have seen that both the Philippine and the
Thai governments have been much more vocal about Slorc's behaviour than any,
other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean).

Contrary to what Prachuab said about Siazon's meeting with Suu Kyi, an Asean
diplomat said that a detailed report from the meeting between Suu Kyi and
the Philippine foreign minister was sent out to all Asean countries. No one
knows for sure if Prachuab saw the report. He insisted that he only
heard about it through newspapers and said reports on the Siazon Suu Kyi
meeting should be taken with a pinch of salt.

It is not clear, however, whether he believes that his contradictory and
conceited attitude should also be held by other Asean members. Indeed, as
much as Asean would like to boast about its solidarity and the spirit of
brotherhood, each member country still likes to be seen as an independent,
sovereign nation dictating its own foreign policy.

At the same time, in order to develop a sense of unity, some degree of
sovereignty has be sacrificed for the sake of the whole.

One educated guess that came out of the diplomatic circle in Bangkok was
that Prachuab had no choice but to deny that he had made a request to meet
Suu Kyi for the sake of face-saving.

An Asean diplomatic source claimed that Prachuab had indeed made a request
to meet Suu Kyi, but the Slorc leadership asked him to call it off. The
double-take on Slorc's part did not come as a surprise, said the diplomat,
because the meeting would have bolstered the hopes of NLD sympathisers in
Bangkok. This is something which Slorc cannot afford to risk because Rangoon
is desperately trying to get a ringside seat at the upcoming Asia-European
Union meeting in Bangkok.

Prachuab boasted from Rangoon that he took a stand against the EU to ensure
that Burma could attend the meeting as a "passive observer", but EU sources
said no final decision has been made with regard to Rangoon attending the

This was definitely a communications blunder, considering that Thailand is
supposed to be the communications link between Burma and the EU.

In regard to Asean's constructive engagement policy, perhaps Prachuab should
be reminded that previous Thai governments, as well as other Asean members,
have consistently suggested that Rangoon establish dialogue between Slorc
and the opposition government, namely Suu Kyi and the NLD.

The regional grouping's ill-defined policy also urges Slorc to negotiate
with ethnic groups, whose fragile relationships with Rangoon are not based
on mutual trust or respect.

As for Prachuab, despite the fact that Thailand has been picked to mend the
fence between Asean and the EU, torn by differing Burma policies, his rigid
tone suggested that his tenure at Saranrom Palace has done little to improve
his communication skills on the level of international diplomacy.


November 11, 1997

BANGKOK, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Thai army commander in chief Chetta Tanajaro
said on Tuesday Burma's ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council
(SLORC) had released 98 Thai fishermen convicted of violating Burmese laws.

He said the fishermen, many of them sick, were airlifted out of Rangoon by
a Thai military plane on Tuesday.

"Bear in mind that you have been released through the auspices of his
majesty the king (Bhumibol Adulyadej)," General Chetta told the freed Thais
at a homecoming ceremony.

The Thai army chief praised the SLORC for pardoning the fishermen in a
gesture from Rangoon to mark the 70th birthday of King Bhumibol on December 5.

Hundreds of Thai fishermen are convicted and jailed each year for intruding
into Burmese waters.


November 9, 1997

YANGON (Nov. 9) XINHUA - Myanmar inaugurated the first container terminal of
its International Thilawa Terminals projects, situated 25 kilometers south
of the capital of Yangon, today with its first phase put into operation. 

It is the first 100-percent foreign investment project in the history of the
country's port development. 

The terminal project, with a quay length of 500 meters in the first phase,
had been carried out by the C and P Holdings of Singapore since June 1995 and
will be managed and operated by the Hutchison Port Holdings of Hong Kong. 

The terminal occupies a total area of 75 hectares. The second phase of the
project is expected to be completed at the end of this year, said Myanmar
Minister for Transport Thein Win at the inaugural ceremony. 

The Myanmar International Thilawa Terminals will provide berthing capacity
for four oceangoing-size vessels to world-class standards and have an annual
handling capacity of 1 million TEUs of containers upon their completion. 

The minister also said Myanmar plans to develop deep-sea ports in its
Rakhine and Tanintharyi coastal regions in addition to the existing Yangon
and Thilawa ports.


November 11, 1997
Deepshikha Ghosh

NEW DELHI, Nov. 10. - The Indian Government's attitude towards the
pro-democracy movement in Myanmar had been decidedly "unsatisfactory",
according to members of the Myanmar delegation attending the two-day
Socialist International meet here.

The vice-president of the National Council for Union of Burma, Mr U Win
Khet, said India being one of the largest democracies, and a neighbour, had
extended only half-hearted support to the movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi
to revive democracy in Myanmar. It was both a "moral and practical"
obligation for India to support democracy in the troubled country, he

To support his contention, the delegate said none of the resolutions passed
in the United Nations, in favour of the democratic and ethnic movement in
Myanmar, had been sponsored by the Indian Government.

"We expect the Indian Government to have a clear-cut stand on the Burma
issue and lend all kinds of support to the democratic and ethnic forces", Mr
Khet said. "After all, we have been doing so for India since colonial rule",
he added pointedly.

According to the Member of Myanmarese Parliament representing the National
League for Democracy, Dr Tint Swe, if the Indian Government initiated some
of the resolutions, it would be extremely encouraging for Myanmar. "We want
no arms or money", he remarked.

Last week, the military regime arrested and detained 50 NLD members. This
brought the total of political prisoners to more than a thousand, including
30 elected members of Parliament. Dr Swe disclosed that the intimidation was

"We are not even allowed to hold official meetings", he pointed out. His
colleague, Mr Khet, added that there was only one "military-sponsored"
newspaper in the land. He was himself one active member of the Press who
was forced to close "shop" under the military's reign of terror.

The delegates disclosed that the year-long campaign attracting tourists
to Myanmar had fared miserably. Most Asian countries had built hotels,
which ended up with a paltry 10 per cent accommodation. Recently,
Myanmar had suffered a major setback when Thailand pulled out of the
joint airlines venture with the country, selling its shares to Malaysia.

Dr Swe aired the likelihood of closure of the Indian airlines flights
started recently, after this tourist season was over. He further pointed
towards the virtual halt in Indo-Burma border trading when the market on
the Burmese side adjoining Manipur was burnt down.

Those coming from Tamu to Moreh in India were arrested and forced to
sign an undertaking that if they continued trading in Moreh, they would
be jailed for seven years. "About 200 people, mostly women, were
arrested and detained for one day. People thriving on border trade now
have nothing to live on", the MP said.

The only way out of the prevailing crisis was through "sustainable and
meaningful dialogue" between the democratic forces, ethnic groups and
the military, towards the common aim of reconciliation, Mr Khet pointed

On the possibility of a rapprochement between Sun Kyi and the military,
Mr Khet said "the military is not sincere enough. They are extremely
anxious to cling on to power and keep NLD as their main target".

"Such an approach to the election winning party is hopeless.... it
defeats the purpose of a reconciliation", he-felt. The question of Sun
Kyi parleying with the National Convention, entrusted with the task of
framing a new Constitution, also did not arise, according to the

Mr Khet said, "the National Convention is a shame. It will produce a
Constitution which will only consolidate military dictatorship". This
was the task for the election winning party, he added.


November 11, 1997
Puangthong Rungswasdisab - The Nation

BURMA has become, and will continue to he in the next decade, the major
security concern for Thailand's foreign policy-makers, Ukrit Patamanant of
Chulalongkorn University's Institute of Asian Studies (IAS) said.

The threat will allow the military to play a significant role in Thailand's
foreign policy, he warned.

Since the end of the Cambodian conflict after United Nations-sponsored
elections in 1992, Cambodia is no longer considered a crucial issue for
Thailand. Instead, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's (Asean)
admittance of Burma into the grouping in July has created a national
security threat for Thailand which shares a common border with the country,
Ukrit told a seminar yesterday entitled "The New Asean" and organised by
the IAS.

Ukrit pointed to the possibility that intense economic competition in the
current global economy will force individual countries to protect their own
interests. That could drive Asean members to resort to unilateral measures,
ignoring regional co-operation.

He warned that economic prosperity could spark a regional arms race. "While
Burma's joining of Asean allows it to enjoy the growing economic
development, its ruling military junta tends to use the Country's wealth to
strengthen its military power. This then will accelerate the arms race in
the region."

"Besides, Burma is the only country in the region to have received enormous
economic and military aid from China- the expansive influence of which has
worried countries in the region," Ukrit said.

He also pointed out the complexity of relations with Burma because of the
involvement of Western powers, chiefly the United States and the European
Union (EU), as well as multinational corporations and human rights groups.

Following Burma's admittance into Asean, Thailand has faced frequent
international pressure and criticism from Western nations who link trade
preferences with human rights violations in Burma. Recently, then foreign
minister Prachuab Chaiyasarn failed to convince the EU to allow Burma to
join the Asean EU meeting scheduled for next week.

Ukrit warned that the Burma issue has strengthened the role of the Thai
military in the country's foreign policy. Many military leaders - such as
Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon, Gen Wimol Wongwanich,
Gen Chettha Thanajaro, Air Chief Marshal Khan Phimanthip and Admiral Wichet
Karunyawanich - have been involved at one time or another in the Burma problem.

Another prominent scholar Somchai Pakapatwiwat argued that there are factors
both helping and hindering integration in the new Asean.

The negative factors may arise from the trade and economic competition
between original Asean members for business from the new members and the
influx of illegal movement, particularly from Thailand's neighbours.


November 11, 1997
Kyaw Tint - Second Secretary - Myanmar Embassy

With regard to the Bangkok Post editorial "Burma attempts to misdirect
blame" of Nov 8, I would like to clarify my government's stance on some
points appearing therein in order to give the readership a balanced view.

These days the media seems to be caught up with the notion that the Myanmar
(Burmese) government's move towards democratisation is rather reluctant - as
reflected in the editorial's "one hesitant step forward followed by quick
steps backward". 

This is indeed a hasty and heavily prejudiced conclusion. The editor is
heavily prejudiced as he sees and assesses what has been done by the Myanmar
government in a negative way. Maybe he thinks that none other than Daw Aung
San Suu Kyi can do good for our country.

If some objectivity is kindly instilled in evaluating the current situation
involving Myanmar internal affairs, no one can deny that peace and order
are, gaining ground, which definitely sets the process of democratisation
taking shape, albeit cautiously. We should not ignore the fact that Myanmar
is a union of nationalities. Non-disintegration is supreme in political
steering and no other considerations can be allowed to weaken it.

With regard to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the government does not impose any
restrictions on her movements. But any activities which may lead to
instigating public unrest will not be allowed. It is understandable that the
maintenance of law and order and stability is the utmost requirement at this
juncture of economic integration into the mainstream. We do not think an
idealistic democratic society can be established in a stroke of time. As in
other societies, Myanmar is pursuing a goal of becoming a prosperous nation
where the interests of the people will be well guarded.

As regards the drug menace, Bangkok Post should not echo the hysterical
accusations of hostile groups which attack the government blindly in every
aspect. Our country's efforts in eradicating this evil are no less than any
other country. Our people have suffered a lot since the colonial time and
our desire to get rid of this drug menace is no fake. Reality can be seen by
sincerity. It is really useless to sing a song to a buffalo.

In the last lines of your editorial, it looks like you are attempting to
drive a wedge between our relations with our neighbours. Who are you, Mr
Editor? It reminds me of the divide and rule tactics exercised by
colonialists in the past. Relations with our neighbours are based
essentially on mutual understanding and all of us striving for friendship
and cooperation in order to establish a peaceful and prosperous region. We
are confident there will be no division in Asean.


November 7, 1997

Burma Study/Action Weekend
November 15-16, 1997
Takaradera, Yamazaki, Kyoto

At the eighth annual Study/Action Weekend, sponsored by Burmese Relief
Center?Japan, Burma issues will be presented and discussed.  This
forum has become famous as a reliable source of information and a
springboard for action on human rights.  Several new videos will be shown,
and many up-to-date reports will be available.  There will also be recent
photos, as well as presentations, by BRC-J volunteers who have recently
returned from  Thailand and the border.

Many books and reports will be on sale.  There  will also be a bazaar with
hundreds of items, many  made by refugees themselves.

All proceeds, of course, will be used to help the  Burmese.


Activities will begin early Saturday afternoon and continue until Sunday
afternoon, with accommodation for sleeping.   Vegetarian meals and Burmese
refreshments will be provided.  Discussion will be in English, Japanese,
and Burmese.  Come when you can; stay as long as you can.  Historic, scenic
Tenno-zan merits notice as well, so plan time for a hike!
Participation fee:	10,000 yen
	6000 yen for those who cannot stay overnight
		(Payable at the site)

For reservations, please contact:

Burmese Relief Center?Japan
266-27 Ozuku-cho, Kashihara, Nara 634, Japan
Tel: (0744) 22-8236 ? Fax: (0744) 24-6254

Takaradera telephone number:  (075) 956-0047  
	(for directions to the temple; NOT for reservations!)