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Information Sheet No. A-079 (I)
- Subject: Information Sheet No. A-079 (I)
- From: OKKAR66129@xxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 05 Feb 1999 20:12:00
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MYANMAR INFORMATION COMMITTEE
No. A-079 (I) Feb.5
(1) Meeting on Implementation of Projects with Assistance of UN Agencies in
A coordination meeting on implementation of projects with the assistance of
United Nations Development Programme and UN agencies in Myanmar was held in
the meeting hall of the Ministry of Defence on 4 February, attended by
Secretary-1 of the State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt. The
Secretary-1 said in Myanmar, projects are being implemented with the
assistance of such organizations as UNDP, UNICEF, FAO, IAEA, UNESCO, WHO,
UNDCP and UNHCR. It is found that the appropriate amount of the assistance of
UN agencies could not be received due to disparaging accusations and blockades
imposed by some Western nations with regard to the assistance of UN agencies.
It is necessary to effectively and successfully implement the projects being
undertaken with the assistance of the UN agencies, thereby refuting false and
fabricated accusations. Though included in the list of assistance provided for
Myanmar by UN agencies, some assistance has not been received. It is also
found that some other assistance which was received did not reach the targeted
amount. The assistance provided for Myanmar by the UN agencies should be
precisely kept in the list and effectively used in the interests of the State
and the national people. In discussing matters related to reports of the
ministries and departments concerned, the Secretary-1 said that the ministries
concerned need to provide close supervision to make sure that the projects
being implemented in Myanmar with the assistance of the UN agencies bear fruit
and ministries concerned also need to cooperate not only among themselves but
also with the UN agencies concerned with a view to effectively receiving and
using financial assistance of the UN agencies.
(2) Myanmar, Pakistan to Play Friendly Hockey
A Pakistani hockey team arrived Yangon on 4 February by air with the
arrangement jointly made by Myanmar Hockey Federation, the Ambassador of
Pakistan to Myanmar and Pakistan Hockey Federation to play goodwill matches.
Led by Mr. Aayaz Mahmood, the guest team comprising 19 players will play
goodwill matches with home team on Theinbyu Hockey Pitch on 5,7 and 10
February. The guest team which has won the championship for 13 times in
Pakistan First Division includes 11 players who have taken part in 1988, 1992
and 1996 Olympic games as players of Pakistan national team.
(3) Amphetamine Base Powder Seized in Monkoe
Members of the regional battalion stopped and searched a jeep which was
heading for Montaung, from Monkoe Shan State (North), on 16 January. Out of
five persons in the car, four managed to get away, and driver Yan Shaing Lu,
Monkoe, was arrested with 19 bags of Amphetamine base powder weighing 11.57
kilos. Action is being taken against him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psycho-
trophic Substances Law.
This office is presenting an article entitled "Sanctions failing to sway
Myanmar" written by Hisane Masaki in the Japan Times dated 5 February for your
Sanctions failing to sway Myanmar
(The Japan Times 5-2-99)
General criticizes Suu Kyi for obstructing path to multiparty system
By Hisane Masaki
Is Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win an easygoing person?
The top Myanmar military intelligence official heard many grating voices on
his maiden trip to Japan, yet he seemed to have taken them in stride.
Although State Foreign Secretary Nobutaka Machimura urged Kyaw Win to engage
in a dialogue with opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu
Kyi, the Myanmar official flatly rejected the proposal. He implicitly accused
her of "hampering national unification and economic development" in calling
for industrialized countries to continue economic sanctions against the
impoverished Southeast Asian country.
In an interview with The Japan Times before leaving Tokyo Kyaw Win said, "Suu
Kyi is an unelected, private citizen. The government wants official meetings
with representatives of all political. But including a private, unelected
citizen in such official meetings is not appropriate."
In recent years, the United States and European countries have toughened
economic sanctions and political pressures on Myanmar for the military
government's alleged violations of human rights and democratic principles.
Kyaw Win responded, "We see their policy as not being very practical. If you
do not have a strong economy..transformation from the political system to
another?c will not be possible."
He contended, "Her (Suu Kyi) opposition to foreign aid, investment and tourism
is making the man on the street suffer," and is therefore causing frustration
for ordinary citizens.
The military intelligence chief flatly denied international charges that
Yangon is involved in drug trafficking.
"We can challenge the world: Show us one piece of evidence that the government
is involved in narcotic trafficking," he said.
The military took power in Myanmar in a 1988 coup and put Suu Kyi under house
arrest in 1989. The coup leaders then annulled the results of the 1990
national elections, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy had won in a
landslide victory. Japan is credited for having played a key role in
persuading the military authorities to release Suu Kyi from house arrest in
Kyaw Win's visit to Japan was in itself a controversial event-although it was
a relatively low-profile tour-because he was invited by the Foreign Ministry.
While many high-level officials of the military regime, or the State Peace and
Development Council as it call itself have visited Japan in the past, they
have done so at the invitation of the private sector, mostly business
On the day Kyaw Win arrived in Tokyo, dissidents and supporters of Suu Kyi
staged protests to urge the government to ban visit by Myanmar officials.
Two days later, the National League for Democracy the biggest opposition force
led by Suu Kyi, issued a statement criticizing Tokyo for inviting the general.
The NLD stated it was disappointed at Tokyo's invitation of a high ranking
official of the military intelligence organization, which it claimed, was
responsible for suppressing pro-democracy movements in Myanmar.
Kyaw Win is considered the right hand man of Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, the first
secretary of the SPDC and the regime's intelligence chief. Kyaw Win also
serves as deputy director general of the Defense Ministry's Office of
Strategic Studies, which is headed by Khin Nyunt. The Strategic Studies Center
will function as a think tank for the commander in chief of the defense
services where a civilian government is eventually formed.
Defending their invitation to the general, Foreign Ministry officials have
said his visit was aimed at giving the influential SPDC figure an opportunity
to hear various opinions in Japan.
Ministry officials said that, although some Japanese are sympathetic with the
SPDC, others have not been and are even critical of the SPDC. The official
also emphasized the importance of strengthening Japanese channels of dialogue
with the NLD as well as with the SPDC, to help break the deadlock in Myanmar's
The following are excerpts from the interview with Kyaw Win.
THE JAPAN TIMES: - How do you view the significance of your trip to Tokyo?
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - The main purpose (of the trip) is to enhance a friendly
relationship with Japan. At the same time, I am here to tell and explain to
our friends in Japan the current situation in Myanmar because there is a lot
of misinformation. I met a lot of people from various circles, including
nongovernmental organizations. I listened to their suggestions and their
viewpoints. At the same time, I tried to give my views on the situation. It
was a very fruitful exchange. I appreciate this opportunity very much.
THE JAPAN TIMES: - How do you view the policy of sanctions on Myanmar by the
U.S. and European industrialized countries?
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - We see their policy as not very practical. Actually, if
you do not have a strong economy - if you do not have a strong basic
infrastructure - transformation from one political system into another,
especially from a one-party socialist system into a multiparty political
system, will not possible. So we think their policy is not very practical, not
THE JAPAN TIMES: - While calling for improvements in the protection of human
rights and democratic principles in Myanmar, Japan has pursued a policy of
"constructive engagement" with Myanmar, instead of isolating it
internationally. At the same time, Japan has suspended fresh economic aid for
Myanmar, except for humanitarian purposes. What is your view on the Japanese
policy toward your country? Do you have any specific requests to Japan with
regards to economic aid and other matters?
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - The policy the Japanese government has been pursuing
toward Myanmar is practical because sanctions, boycott and embargo, unreality,
do not help our transition to a democracy. We do not have any specific
requests. Japan used to be one of the biggest donors in the past. Of course,
there are various reasons Japan cannot
extend (fresh) official development assistance to Myanmar. But we believe in
the near future Japan may be able to extend assistance for education and other
THE JAPAN TIMES: - Why is the SPDC adamantly resisting international calls for
dialogue with Suu Kyi and the NLD? A new constitution being drafted is
criticized by many in the international community because it would exclude her
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - I think you are misunderstanding the situation, because
the government of Myanmar is very much willing to have dialogue not only with
the NLD but also with all other political parties. Unfortunately, it was the
NLD (that rejected dialogue). The NLD rejected meetings taking place. For
example, we have extended an invitation twice. But it was rejected by the
We are looking forward to another meeting. This is a confidence building
measure-taking place between the government and the NLD. We believe that this
has been unfortunately sabotaged by their intention of trying to convene a
parliament (based on the 1990 elections).
Suu Kyi is an unelected, private citizen. The government wants meetings with
representatives of all political parties. But including a private, unelected
citizen in such official meetings is not appropriate. The meetings should be
concluded with the aim of doing serious work solving Myanmar challenges.
Because of the original 1948 constitution written by her father (independence
hero Gen. Aung San), she cannot run for office in Myanmar. Also, she has lived
in foreign countries for nearly 30 years. What Gen. Aung San put in the 1948
constitution was a clause that any person who is under any acknowledgment of
allegiance or adherence to a foreign power is not entitled to contest a seat
in elections. She does not know much about the actual situation in Myanmar.
THE JAPAN TIMES: - Is there a possibility that Suu Kyi will deported amid the
continuing showdown between the SPDC and her NLD?
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - This (deportation) is the wishes of people on the
streets. This is not a government policy. Her opposition to foreign aid,
investment and tourism is making the man on the street suffer. The people are
getting frustrated. After 10 years, the NLD has not done any single for them.
They (NLD people) are always shouting human rights and democracy. But the most
important thing for average men and women is (to meet) human needs.
THE JAPAN TIMES: - The International Labor Organization issued a report last
summer criticizing widespread forced labor in Myanmar. There are also
international accusations that the SPDC is involved in narcotics trafficking.
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - This (ILO report) is (based on) misunderstanding. The
ILO does not understand the Myanmar situation. The ILO is just listening to
what antigovernment people are saying and is accusing us of forced labor.
Regarding the narcotics issue, we can challenge the world: Show us one piece
of evidence that the government is involved in narcotics trafficking. We are
doing more than our share (to solve the narcotics problem) because we are one
of few governments in the world that is doing much anti-narcotics activities
without any outside assistance. From 1988 until today, we have lost 766
soldiers in fighting against narcotics.
THE JAPAN TIMES: - Immediately after gaining entry to the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations in summer 1997, fellow ASEAN members were hard hit by
the region's financial and economic crisis. Myanmar has since seen a sharp
decline in foreign investment especially from ASEAN members. The Asian
economic malaise also led to the collapse in May of President Suhato's regime
in Indonesia, which the SPDC was believed to have seen as a political model
for Myanmar. Has much of what you initially expected from ASEAN membership
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - Unfortunately, last year there was a financial crisis
and a lot of our friends in Asia were directly affected. But Myanmar was
indirectly affected. They (fellow ASEAN members) cannot invest in Myanmar as
much as they want to. But we are trying to resolve the problem by putting
greater emphasis on the agricultural sector. So we are trying to solve the
problem in our way.
We are optimistic that in the near future, ASEAN countries will once again
have strong economics and that we will be able to help each other. Regarding
(the political upheaval in) Indonesia, we are not carbon-copying the
Indonesian Constitution. Myanmar is quite different from Indonesia.
THE JAPAN TIMES: - There are concern among many ASEAN members about the
potential of China posing a security threat. Though an ASEAN member, Myanmar
has developed military and other relations with China in recent years. What is
the SPDC's policy toward China? Is further development in military ties
between Myanmar and China in the works?
Brig. Gen. Kyaw Win - Yes, we have developed a good relationship with China,
because China is among countries that have assisted and supported us when
Myanmar was facing times on difficulties from 1988 onward. But the Myanmar
government's policy is that we always have five principles for peaceful
coexistence. Myanmar is a friend of all nations. We are not anybody's ally.
Myanmar will never allow any foreign troops on its soil.