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Chuan seeks talks with VN, Burma

Chuan seeks talks with VN, Burma 

Nussara Sawatsawang

Bangkok Post, December 5, 1997

Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has asked for separate talks with Vietnamese
and Burmese leaders during the forthcoming informal summit of the
Association of Southeast Asean Nations in Kuala Lumpur.

A foreign ministry official said Mr Chuan put forward the request early
this week after deciding to forego the traditional tour of Asean member

Mr Chuan introduced himself to most Asean member states shortly after
beginning his first term as prime minister in 1992, and decided against
repeating the procedure this time, partly to save costs.

Mr Chuan did not visit Burma in 1992 in protest at the ruling regime's
failure to respect democracy and human rights. In 1993, he allowed Nobel
Peace Prize laureates to hold talks in Bangkok.

Mr Chuan asked for bilateral talks with General Than Shwe, Burma's premier
and defence minister, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai during
the second Asean informal summit Malaysia is hosting on December 15 and 16.

Burmese Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw is expected to convey Gen Than Shwe's
response when he calls on Prime Minister Chuan here next week. Ohn Gyaw
will be in Bangkok to co-chair with Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan
the Thai-Burmese Joint Commission on Tuesday.

Thailand is expected to concentrate on technical and economic assistance,
worth 40 million bath for 1988 fiscal year.

But construction of the controversial pipeline for transporting natural gas
from Burma's Gulf of Martaban is also expected to be raised. Bangkok wants
to make sure Rangoon will complete construction  of the gas pipeline on the
Thai side in time.