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21/11/98: THE AAP NEWS
20/11/98: BURMA-RESHUFFLE, INTELLIGENCE CHIEF CONSLOLIDATE CONTROL
20/11/98: SOLDIER HAND-PICKED BY STRONGMAN RISE TO THE TOP.
[In followign news analysis by Bruce Hawke, it probably a mistake
the Burmese military want 51% of seat in Burma Parliament. As we
heard previously from SPDC/SLORC sources, the military want 25%.
Probably, the reporter confused between Indonesia and Burma.
-- U Ne Oo.]
BURMA-RESHUFFLE ASIA: INTELLIGENCE CHIEF CONSOLIDATES CONTROL
IN JUNTA RESHUFFL
DATE: 16:38 20-Nov-98
ASIA: Intelligence chief consolidates control in
junta reshuffle BURMA RESHUFFLE (NEWS ANALYSIS)
By Bruce Hawke
RANGOON, Nov 20 DPA - Burma's intelligence chief
Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt used a recent
leadership reshuffle to cement his position at
the head of the most powerful bloc in government, observers
Under his effective control, the junta - criticised
around the world for gross human rights abuses - is set to
embark on a campaign to try to gain legitimacy both
at home and abroad, analysts say.
A newly-appointed foreign minister is expected to
lead an international public relations offensive under Khin
Nyunt, who is first secretary of the ruling State
Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
Inside Burma, Khin Nyunt may be preparing to set up
a political party to counter the popular opposition group
of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
The move could even pave the way for limited
parliamentary representation - a "sham-ocracy" in the words
of a foreign banker, where 51 per cent of seats
would be reserved for the military or military appointees.
With national strongman General Ne Win now believed
to be on his death bed and the ailing SPDC chairman
and prime minister, Senior General Than Shwe, taking
a limited role in politics, Khin Nyunt has quickly risen
to the top of the country's hierarchy.
Khin Nyunt, a protegee of long-time leader Ne Win,
staged what was widely regarded as a palace coup in
November last year, when he ousted most of his cabinet
Even his greatest threat, army chief General Maung Aye,
lost his post as deputy defence minister when the
portfolio was replaced with that of military affairs.
Khin Nyunt now either chairs or sits on at least 15
working committees. Though he holds no portfolio, he
addresses and controls every cabinet meeting. The
notification of the reshuffle last weekend was signed by
Khin Nyunt, according to dissident groups.
His biggest problem has been his lack of standing within
the army due to his lack of field experience and
resentment in some quarters over his efforts to build
closer ties with China.
To gain a better foothold in the military, Khin Nyunt
has handed a deputy premiership, one of three such
posts, to a close associate, Military Affairs Minister
Lieutenant General Tin Hla.
Tin Hla played a pivotal role in the brutal repression
of pro-democracy demonstrators in 1988. He is widely
held responsible for the military retaking control of
the streets at the cost of thousands of civilian lives.
He is now the only serving cabinet minister, apart from
the prime minister, to also retain an office in the
military hierarchy and to hold two cabinet portfolios.
Tin Hla is also quartermaster general, responsible for
military procurements, the mint and the Directorate
Defence Industries, which make products ranging from
kitchen sinks to automatic rifles.
He further controls the military holding companies, which
control the lion's share of commerce and are the
joint-venture partner of choice for foreign investors.
The fact that Tin Hla is not a member of the official
supreme body, the SPDC, is no obstacle because the
council is not especially active in governing the
country, say Rangoon-based analysts.
"The SPDC only meets three or four times a year," said
one Asian diplomat. "The policy and decision-making
power has moved from the military to the cabinet and
On September 18, Rangoon announced the formation of a
16-member political policy committee chaired by
Members include four senior cabinet ministers, the head
of the Rangoon army regional command and senior
members of the feared Directorate of Defence Services
Intelligence, the secret police which is widely accused
of torture and extra-judicial executions.
Khin Nyunt also control a personal policy think-tank and
intelligence organ, the Office of Strategic Studies.
Exiled Burmese dissident and academic Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe
believes the new committee is a precursor
to Khin Nyunt setting up a political party and introducing
reforms intended to outflank Suu Kyi's National
League for Democracy, Burma's largest legal opposition party.
"The move could mean that the junta is preparing to set
up a political party, using the Union Solidarity and
Development Association, a government-run civilian mass
organisation, as a base and at the same time
accelerate the constitutional drafting process," he
A renewed effort to change the government's image
internationally is expected to start within the next couple
To kick off the offensive, Ohn Gyaw was dropped as
foreign minister in the reshuffle in favour of Ambassador
to Britain Win Aung. "They were very unhappy with his
performance," said the Yangon-based Asian
According to Rangoon insiders, Washington-based lobby
groups had for some time been counselling the
regime to dump Ohn Gyaw, as his inability to deal with
the international media competently was a liability to
While Khin Nyunt now appears to be firmly in control
in Burma, analysts in Rangoon and Bangkok say it
would be unwise to write off army chief Maung Aye
The new foreign minister is likely to have as tough a
time trying to make the junta look good as his
predecessor did, while the expected parliamentary
system as envisioned by Khin Nyunt is not likely to be
taken too seriously by the rest of the world either.
BURMA-KHIN ASIA: SOLDIER HAND-PICKED BY STRONGMAN RISES TO
TOP OF REGIME
DATE: 16:40 20-Nov-98
ASIA: Soldier hand-picked by strongman rises to top of
regime BURMA KHIN (PROFILE)
RANGOON, Nov 20 DPA - The head of the Burmese intelligence
apparatus, Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, a close confidante
of ailing strongman Ne Win, has for some time been considered
the regime's most powerful figure.
He is first secretary of the ruling State Peace
and Development Committee, head of the feared secret police,
officially known as the Directorate of Defence Services
Intelligence, and chief of another intelligence organ
called the Office of Strategic Studies.
Kin Nyunt holds no portfolio but attends all cabinet
meetings, chairs at least 15 working committees and has
influence in most ministries and powerful allies in
Born on October 11, 1939, he graduated from the 25th
class of the Officers' Training School in Hmawbie, north
of the capital, after failing to complete a science
degree at Rangoon University.
Khin Nyunt was attached to the 44th light infantry
division in the early 1980s, becoming tactical commander in
1982, a year when there was little fighting.
He was promoted to the rank of colonel and recalled to
Rangoon in 1983 to reorganise the intelligence
apparatus after North Korean agents planted a bomb,
killing 19 people, including four visiting South Korean
He was hand-picked for the job by Burmese strongman
General Ne Win, who is now believed to be very ill
but still highly influential in the Burmese leadership.
When the SPDC's predecessor, the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC), took power
following a bloody crackdown on democracy demonstrators
in which thousands were killed in 1988, Khin
Nyunt was the council's youngest member at the age of 48.
He was soon promoted to brigadier general, major and
lieutenant general, despite having almost no military
field experience. It was rumoured last month, wrongly
and perhaps prematurely, that he had been promoted to
His position as intelligence chief and his relationship
with Ne Win make him a man of considerable, though
not unbridled, power.
Khin Nyunt is largely responsible for the ceasefire
agreements with have been signed with most of the
country's insurgent groups, including major opium
and heroin producers.
He was also the architect of Burma's controversial
entry into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Though he speaks English poorly, he is regarded as
more sophisticated, pragmatic and worldly than other
leading figures in isolated Burma.
He is married with several adult children and has a
reputation as a workaholic who does not drink, smoke or
womanise. He also carefully guards his public image
and nationalist credentials.
Khin Nyunt, seen by some as having sold Burma out to
Chinese and Singaporean interests, was furious when
his son married an ethnic Chinese Burma Airways
hostess from Singapore earlier this year.
To distance himself from the union, Khin Nyunt placed
an advertisement in the government-run New Light of
Burma newspaper, saying he had disowned his son.
Emails: drunoo@xxxxxxxxxxxx, uneoo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
PostMail: Dr U Ne Oo, 18 Shannon Place, Adelaide SA 5000, Australia
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