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The Nation - New bridge to help Bur

Subject: The Nation - New bridge to help Burma trade

The Nation - Aug 26, 1999.
New bridge to help Burma trade

THAILAND and Burma have agreed to build a second friendship bridge over the
Mae Sai River to link Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district to Burma's Tachilek
town, Foreign Ministry spokesman Don Pramudwinai said yesterday.

''Thailand and Burma agreed in principle on construction of the second
bridge which will facilitate trade flow in the northern region. The bridge
is needed because the existing bridge is no longer sufficient to accommodate
increased trade and tourism on both sides of the border,'' Don said.

The bridge, agreed at the just-concluded Thai-Burma Joint Commission meeting
in Rangoon, will be the second bridge in the immediate area linking the
countries. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan and
his Burmese counterpart U Win Aung.

Both countries agreed to form a joint committee on the management and
maintenance of the first friendship bridge over Moei river that links Tak's
Mae Sot district with Burma's Myyawady river.

They also pledged to closely cooperate to fight illegal activities which
have given rise to social problems along the border, such as gambling,
smuggling of gems and artifacts, and trafficking of women and children.

''While suppression of the production and trafficking of narcotics remains
highest priority on the agenda, Thai and Burmese foreign ministers agreed to
work closely to contain and eradicate the illegal activities along the
border,'' Don said.

He said the two sides were satisfied with the existing cooperation in the
suppression of transnational crimes especially following the visit of the
Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council Senior Gen Than Shwe to
Thailand in March this year.

''Both countries also agreed to enhance cooperation in suppression of
illegal activities along the border, such as smuggling of gems, artifacts,
vehicles, cattle and marine products,'' he said.

Regarding the boundary demarcation, a technical level meeting based on the
agreement is expected to be held in Bangkok early next month.

Don said on the economic front, the meeting noted the positive trend in
bilateral trade where trade volume reached US$267.9 million during the first
half of this year, a 27 per cent increase over the same period last year.

At the meeting, both countries signed an agreement on visa exemptions for
official and diplomatic passport holders and for cultural exchange.


The Nation