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BurmaNet News: February 24, 2000

=========== THE BURMANET NEWS ===========
Thursday, February 24, 2000
Issue #1470
=========== www.burmanet.org ============

To view the version of this issue with photographs, go to-



``The mass relocation plan of the Wa only means shifting the opium 
production areas from the China border to the Thai border.''

Thamnu Sirisingha, of Thailand's Narcotics Control Office on Burma's 
forced relocation of 50,000 Wa villagers ostensibly to fight drugs.


Inside Burma--








Feb. 24, 2000
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Continuing a quixotic legal challenge of the 
ruling military government, Myanmar's democratic opposition is waiting 
to hear whether the country's supreme court will reverse its dismissal 
of a lawsuit filed against the country's leaders.

A statement from the opposition National League for Democracy, received 
Thursday, said the party lodged an appeal with the court asking it to 
reverse its dismissal of a complaint that the government was taking 
illegally destroy the party.

There was no indication when the court might issue a decision on the 
appeal, which was made Tuesday. NLD vice chairman Tin Oo said Wednesday 
he expected the decision would be posted a public notice board, as is 

The supreme court late last year dismissed the case filed
against top Myanmar officials, including influential military 
intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, for lack of sufficient evidence.

``The supreme court decision was based on the examination of selective 
witnesses. It was a summary disposal, so we have lodged a special 
appeal,'' Tin Oo said Wednesday by telephone. Opposition leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi and executive members of her party went to the supreme court in 
downtown Yangon Tuesday for the court hearing, which lasted nearly four 
hours, said Tin Oo. More than 200 members of the party's youth and 
women's wings
waited at the entrance of the supreme court building and chanted ``Long 
live Aung San Suu Kyi.''

It is rare for the opposition, which suffers severe repression from the 
authorities, to make such a public display in downtown Yangon. There was 
some minor scuffling when security personnel asked the crowd to move 

NLD chairman Aung Shwe lodged the complaint last year against Home 
Minister Col. Tin Hlaing and 27 other officials.

The officials were accused of illegally rounding up hundreds of party 
members and detaining them until they resigned as part of a campaign of 
harassment that included closing branch offices. The crackdown against 
the NLD came after Suu Kyi stepped up her campaign to force the 
government to convene a parliament elected in

The court dismissed the complaint after a one-day hearing before its 
11-member panel on Sept. 30. The proceedings were not open to the 

The NLD won 82 percent of the seats in the 1990 vote, which took place 
two years after the military violently crushed anti-government protests. 
The army refused to honor the election after the parties it backed lost.

Suu Kyi, under what became six years of house arrest, won the Nobel 
Peace Prize in 1991 for her non-violent promotion of democracy in 
Myanmar, which is also called Burma.



March, 2000

[Tokyo Journal is the oldest English magazine in Japan.]

Kurt Hanson

"We will never surrender!" General Bo Mya thunders to his troops in the 
guerrilla outpost deep in the jungles of Burma. Heading the 4,000-man 
Karen army he is still defiant after 51 years of fighting. However, Bo 
Mya, the leader of the Karen National Union (KNU) for 25 years was 
recently replaced by Ba Thein. The new man in charge may sue for peace, 
but in the meantime the war goes on. Just as it has for decades in the 
longest running insurgency this century. 
The enemy is the Burmese military junta, which continues its 
centuries-old policy of subjugating and oppressing the Karen and all 
ethnic groups and fellow Burmese who dare stand up to its rule. While 
most other ethnic groups have either capitulated or surrendered the 
Karen fight on, but for how long is anybody¹s guess. These are hard 
times for the Karen guerrillas as they face a no win war of attrition 
against the military might of Burma¹s 400,000-man army.  
Once controlling huge stretches of territory the KNU are now holding 
precariously to thin strips of land hugging the Thai-Burma border. Their 
once formidable guerrilla force is now reduced to a few thousand 
fighters. In this war, where the forces of good against evil is so 
clearly defined, it appears that the bad guys, the Burmese forces, are 
Things were very different in the years following the end of WWII when 
Karen forces were nearly on par with the Burmese. Armed and trained by 
the British to wage a rear guard action against Japanese forces, the 
Karen emerged in 1945 as one of the most powerful ethnic groups in Burma 
ready to challenge the Burmese on the battlefield. At the start of the 
conflict in 1949 the Karen Army once reached the outskirts of Rangoon. 
But it has since steadily lost ground and power in the ensuing decades. 
And it¹s been five years since the Karen suffered their worst defeat at 
the hands of the Burmese when they lost Manerplaw, their main 
headquarters. The stronghold of Kowmoora just to the south fell after a 
6-week siege.  
And the war goes on. Even today refugees continue to flee to Thailand to 
join the over 100,000 already encamped there. "We want peace with the 
Burmese but they have turned down our repeated offers for talks. Peace 
envoys sent to Rangoon have been turned away," General Bo Mya said in a 
recent interview. "They ask us to surrender our weapons first, but we 
will never do this." The objectives of the Karen people are simple he 
added: "We want to live in a federated state, with a central government 
but with greater autonomy for the ethnic groups around Burma. We do not 
seek independence nor do we seek to overthrow the government." 

After its losses in 1995 the Karen changed tactics. Gone are the days of 
fighting from fixed positions to slug it out with the Burmese Army in 
conventional warfare. The Rangoon junta has always been more then 
willing to let the bodies of young Burmese conscripts literally pile up 
on the battlefield, not so the Karen. Now the Karen operate purely as a 
guerrilla force. Mobile units ranging from 20 to 100 soldiers roam the 
jungle to harass and ambush Burmese forces in a never-ending game of cat 
and mouse. The Karen excel at stealth, concealment, and jungle fighting. 
"Our tactic is to demoralize the Burmese army," a Karen spokesman said. 
Mine warfare is being employed more and more by both sides. 
A military observer from Europe, a two-year veteran of the Vietnam War, 
who has spent the last twelve years with the Karen, summed up his 
observations: "These two wars are very different. The Vietnam War was 
political, but this is a war of survival. The Karen have been pushed 
into a corner and have no choice but to fight. These are not a warrior 
people. They are very gentle people, simple farmers who are just trying 
to keep from being exterminated." In comparing the effectiveness of the 
Burmese army with the North Vietnamese army, he added, "The North 
Vietnamese were far superior in every way, first rate soldiers, well 
trained and motivated. The Burmese army on the other hand is third rate 
at best, poorly trained and poorly led. They are cowards, only good at 
terrorizing unarmed civilians killing women and children and burning 

One Japanese volunteer soldier, who asked to remain anonymous, and has 
fought alongside the Karen for three years gave his insight into the 
war, "These are my friends. I can¹t just stand by and watch them being 
killed. That¹s why I¹m a soldier in the Karen army." 
In the Burmese junta¹s efforts to raise it¹s huge army it has rounded up 
and kidnapped thousands of teenagers off the streets of cities and 
villages across the country. Given rudimentary training they are then 
thrown into battle to fight against the ethnic groups along its vast 
border. Military commanders routinely pocket the meager wages of rank 
and file soldiers. Soldiers wounded in battle or fallen sick receive 
scant medical care. As a consequence, killing of officers is common and 
the desertion rate is high. In spite of these problems the Burmese Army 
still posses a formidable threat effectively holding the country 

The UN has branded the military junta in Rangoon as one of the worst 
human rights violators in the world, ranked number eight from the bottom 
of the list and in the same league as regimes like Iraq and North Korea. 
The junta has turned a once prosperous country into a real House of 
Horrors. The military is specifically designed for internal repression 
rather then external defense of the country. In Karen territory, Burmese 
forces conduct acts of savagery against civilians on a huge scale. 
Burmese troops routinely target villages, killing all who resist, raping 
the women, and forcing survivors at gunpoint to work as porters or human 
mine sweepers in the war zone. Some favorite acts of terror: gouging out 
eyes, beheadings, crushing with heavy logs and impaling women on bamboo 
It was in this situation in 1997 that gave rise to God's Army; founded 
by 12-year-old twins whose village suffered the same fate as thousands 
of others. This tragic situation is the doing of the Burmese junta. If 
it had not waged a war against civilians there would be no God's Army or 
twelve-year-old boys forced to fight for their lives in the harsh 
jungle. Violence begets violence. 
In spite of all the horror suffered, the Karen are eternally optimistic 
and feel that someday there will be peace. The will of the people of 
Burma is stronger then all the fire and steel that the junta can throw 
at them. Thankfully, all evil regimes eventually come to an end. And in 
this time of darkness, Aung San Suu Kyi shines like a beacon of hope for 
40,000,000 people. It¹s inevitable that the junta in Rangoon will 
someday be replaced with a government based on democracy and freedom  
its  just a matter of time.



Feb. 23, 2000

MUANG NA, Myanmar (AP) _ The leader of a major ethnic insurgent group in 
Myanmar has denied his force is seeking a cease-fire with the Yangon 
A statement last month purportedly issued by his group had said that it 
was seeking a cease-fire.

Yawd Serk, supreme commander of the rebel Shan State Army
(South), told The Associated Press in an interview that his troops would 
not give up fighting Myanmar's military regime. The interview was 
conducted Tuesday at a small camp about 10 kilometers (six miles) inside 
Myanmar across from the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai. His 
remarks were made available Wednesday after reporters returned to 

``We will not put down our weapons,'' said Yawd Serk. ``We fight till we 
die to protect the Shan people. We will not start the peace negotiations 
until we clearly know the Burmese government's standpoint about a 
cease-fire.'' Earlier this month, Lt. Col. Hla Min, a government 
spokesman, told the AP that Yawd Serk's group would have to lay down its 
weapons in surrender as part of a cease-fire deal, a condition unlikely 
to be acceptable to the rebels.

The Shan State Army (South) is one of about a score of major ethnic 
rebel groups that have been seeking autonomy for several decades from 
the central government of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Most of the groups reached cease-fires with the government after it 
began implementing an effective carrot-and-stick approach about 10 years 
ago, promising development funds after conducting military offensives.

Yawd Serk on Tuesday disavowed a statement issued in late
January, allegedly in his name, which said his insurgent group wanted to 
make peace with Yangon.

The January statement said other guerrilla groups, including Shan 
factions that have signed cease-fires with the regime, had turned 
against the Shan State Army (South).

``Because of these circumstances, we have thought it better to end this 
war and solve our problems by peaceful means,'' said the statement.

Asked Tuesday if the statement reflected a split within his group, he 
said that it might and that he had ordered an investigation.

Last month's announcement for peace had come as a surprise. In December, 
Yawd Serk said Shan resistance would never be snuffed out and that the 
U.N.-sanctioned bombing of Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing by Yugoslav 
forces last year had given hope to oppressed
minority groups everywhere.
Myanmar's military government also had denied any knowledge of a peace 

Yawd Serk is believed to control several thousand troops
fighting for independence in Shan State in eastern Myanmar, and he 
claimed Tuesday that he controlled around 5,000 soldiers.

He said his group had to clean up its image because Shan
insurgencies have traditionally been financed by drug money. Yawd Serk 
last year garnered attention by declaring a self-professed war against 
drug-traffickers on the border, which lies at the center of the 
opium-producing Golden Triangle.



YANGON, Feb 24 (AFP) - Myanmar struck out at neighbours Thailand, China 
and India on Thursday, accusing them of allowing smugglers access to its 
borders to ship in precursor chemicals used in amphetamine production.

"No precursor chemicals of any kind are produced in Myanmar," an 
official commentary published in the state-run New Light of Mynmar 
newspaper said.

"If illegal entry of these chemicals coming from China, India and 
Thailand could be stopped the matter of illicit drug produtcion along 
the common borders could be eliminated," it said.
Myanmar is part of the infamous Golden Triangle opium growing region and 
is blamed for producing much of the heroin consumed in Europe and the 
United States.

Elements of its ethnic minorities are also said to be producing under 
the benign gaze of the military vast quantities of amphetamine tablets 
Thailand and now making their way to markets in Europe.
As evidence of its sincerity in trying to stamp out amphetamines, the 
commentary on Thursday said Myanmar anti-drugs authorities had seized 13 
of precursor chemical ephedrine from China and India alone between 1996 
and 1999.

It said 55 million stimulant tablets had been nabbed in that period. So 
far this year 285 kilos (627 pounds) of ephedrine had been seized on 
routes from India, the commentary added.

"It is regrettable that Myanmar is being unfairly singled out for 
blame." The Yangon junta earlier this year launched a major drive to 
convince the international community it was taking serious measures to 
tackle the drugs trade.

Measures included flying two dozen foreign correspondents based in 
Thailand to drug producing areas normally inaccessible to the media and 

Officials said they were working with minorities to stamp out opium 
production, while refusing to answer questions on the ballooning 
amphetamines trade.



New Light of Myanmar

YANGON, 22 Feb - The No 13 Sugar Mill (Okkan) of Myanma Sugarcane 
Enterprise at Gonnyindan village, Taikkyi Township, Yangon Division, was 
commissioned into service this morning, attended by Secretary-2 of the 
State Peace and Development Council Lt-Gen Tin Oo.
Managing Director of MSE U Myo Myint reported on location of the mill, 
completion and test run of the mill, sugarcane cultivation in the 
surrounding areas, building of roads to ensure timely transport of 
sugarcane to the mill, sugarcane purchase and requirements. 
Chairman of Yangon North District Peace and Development Council Lt-Col 
San Matu and Chairman of Taikkyi Township Peace and Development Council 
U Myint Than reported on sugarcane cultivation and yield and sale of 
sugarcane to the mill. 
Minister Maj-Gen Nyunt Tin explained completion of the sugar mill, 
existing sugar mills and new ones, sugarcane sown acreage and yield of 
the region and sugarcane purchase. 
Officials of Fortune International Limited which is conducting 
agriculture in Taikkyi Township presented progress in cultivating 
Commander Maj-Gen Khin Maung Than and Ministers Brig-Gen Pyi Sone and U 
Aung San gave suggestions on ensuring convenience in sugarcane purchase 
and running of sugarcane mills at full capacity. 
Secretary-2 Lt-Gen Tin Oo said efforts should be made for the No 13 
Sugar Mill (Okkan) to operate at full capacity; sugarcane should be 
cultivated as projected; and the respective departments should render 
assistance in distributing quality strains. 
Local authorities and officials of the mill should make concerted 
efforts to ensure convenience in purchase and transport sectors. 
As the government is buying the produce from farmers at good prices, 
they should sell sugarcane to the mill as targeted. 

The Secretary-2 presented a fruit basket to Chief Representative Ms 
Luoyun of China National Agriculture and Construction Machinery Import 
and Export Corporation of the People's Republic of China, which brought 
in and installed the equipment at the mill. 
Lt-Gen Tin Oo and Ms Luoyun unveiled the signboard of the mill. 
Minister Maj-Gen Nyunt Tin and Ms Luoyun formally opened the mill by 
cutting the ribbon. 

After launching the mill, the Secretary-2 and party inspected the 
process of production. 
By using the doubling charcoal filtering system, the mill can produce 
2,000 tons of 100 per cent white sugar daily. 



CHIANG MAI, Thailand, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The head of 
Thailand's anti-drugs agency in the northen Golden Triangle region has 
dismissed claims by neighbouring Myanmar that a recent relocation of 
opium growers was designed to cut drugs production.

Thamnu Sirisingha, director of Thailand's northern Narcotic Control 
Office, told Reuters trafficking from neighbouring Myanmar was rising 
and likely to continue to increase due to the relocation of Myanmar 
ethnic Wa farmers closer to Thailand. 

Last month, Myanmar's military government heralded the
forced move of some 50,000 Wa opium growers from northern
Myanmar to closer towards the Thai border as a victory for drugs 
suppression and said the farmers had now left the drugs business.

It said Wa hill farmers and their dependents were being
trucked more than 160 km (100 miles) south from homes along the Chinese 
border to grow longans, a type of tropical fruit.

But Thamnu saw the relocation quite differently.
``The mass relocation plan of the Wa only means shifting the opium 
production areas from the China border to the Thai border,'' Thamnu said 
in an interview at his headquarters in the northern Thai city of Chiang 


``Narcotics trafficking from (Myanmar) Wa areas is more
active and increasing,'' Thamnu added. He said Myanmar's United Wa State 
Army (UWSA) had moved its opium production closer to the Thai border to 
take advantage of
logistics supplies for cultivation available in Thailand and Thailand's 
better roads for drugs transportation.

He said Thai narcotics officials also suspected the UWSA was resuming 
opium cultivation in areas that used to be controlled by Khun Sa, a 
former opium warlord who gave himself up to Myanmar troops five years 

``We believe the Wa people will again grow opium in the
areas that used to be under the control of Khun Sa,'' Thamnu said.

International narcotics agencies accuse the UWSA, which
signed a peace deal with the Myanmar government in 1990, of active 
involvement in narcotics trafficking throughout the Golden Triangle, 
where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.

The United Nations Drug Control Programme estimates that
about 1,200 tonnes of opium was produced in the Golden Triangle in 1999. 
Thamnu said Thailand had almost managed to eradicate its own opium 
production, thanks to an intense crop substitution regime.

Combined efforts of the Thai army, police and drugs
officials had cut Thai opium output to just 500 kg (1,102
pounds) a year from more than 100 tonnes until 1984, he said.

``At this moment I can say we are totally in control of
opium production in our territory and have reduced output by more than 
99.5 percent,'' Thamnu said.

Since 1984, Thailand has made a concerted effort to stamp
out production of opium, from which heroin is made, and has enforced 
crop substitution in its mountainous north.
Thamnu said the Thai drugs task force had destroyed more
than 800 hectares (1,977 acres) of opium poppy fields in 1999. He 
estimated that another 640 hectares of poppy fields had been in use in 
Thailand last year but said some of these fields had already been 
eradicated this year.

Drugs officials estimate that about 1.8 kg (four pounds) of opium gum 
can be produced from one hectare of poppies. It takes about 10 tonnes of 
opium gum to make one tonne of heroin. 

Thamnu said that in 1984, the first year of the Thai opium eradication 
project, only 5.47 percent of nearly 9,000 hectares of opium fields were 
destroyed. Last year, more than 60 percent of 1,440 hectares of targeted 
opium fields were hit.

He said Thai forces had destroyed more than 500 hectares of opium poppy 
fields since December 1999. ``Our concern is that we can put controls on 
Thai output, but we have an uphill task to stop the flood of narcotics 
our neighbours,'' he said.



BANGKOK, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Thai anti-narcotics police shot dead three 
members of a suspected Myanmar drugs gang in the Golden Triangle region 
of northern Thailand, police said on Thursday.

Acting on a tip-off, police were sent to intercept the
suspects in Samkok village in the jungles of Chiang Mai province near 
the Myanmar border, a police spokesman told Reuters. Four suspects 
showed up late on Wednesday and a brief gun battle ensued. Three 
suspects, believed to be either ethnic Wa or Shan from Myanmar, were 
killed and one of them escaped.

Police seized 2.4 kg (5.3 pounds) of heroin and 50,000
amphetamine tablets from the unidentified corpses.
International narcotics agencies accuse an autonomous group of Wa 
rebels, the United Wa State Army, of active involvement in drugs 
trafficking on the Golden Triangle, a mountainous jungle area where the 
borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet.



"The Thai Military Has to Adjust Its Strategy to Cope with Threats" 

Bangkok Krungthep Thurakit in Thai 18 Feb 00 2 

Column by Phakphum Temasiri

[Translated from Thai by FBIS]     The arrest of a high-level Burmese 
spy in Ranong Province and the detention of six Burmese army officers in 
Nam Phiang Din precinct, Muang District of Mae Hong Son Province, 
Thailand, for intrusion in the past week are being regarded as clear 
signs of distrust between Thailand and Burma. 

    According to a Thai military intelligence report, several Burmese 
agents disguised as ordinary people frequently sneaking into Thailand to 
collect intelligence have been uncovered.   These arrests are sometimes 
reported to the public, while some are not.   Many such incidents have 
taken place lately due to a change of the situation along the 
Thai-Burmese border. 

    Discussing the current situation along the Thai-Burmese border, a 
high-level Thai military officer said Burma is actively sorting out 
affairs along its border.   There is an indication that this will become 

successful in the near future because the many ethnic minority groups 
hostile toward the Burmese Government are getting weaker every passing 
day. The only ethnic groups that remain strong and active in their 
struggle against the Burmese Government are the Christian Karen under 
leadership of the KNU [Karen National Union] and the free Mon movement.  
 The armed units of other ethnic minority groups, including the Karen 
God's Army, have already been smashed or have surrendered to the Burmese 
military forces. 

    The current suppression drives of the Burmese Armed Forces against 
the ethnic minority forces along the border have thus narrowed the 
distance between the Thai and Burmese armed units.   This is because the 

armed ethnic groups used to be a buffer between the armed forces of the 
two countries along the entire border. 

    The same military officer went on to say that under the present 
circumstances, what the Thai and Burmese Armed Forces are worried most 
about is the unclear border line between the two countries, the 
demarcation of which has not been completed yet.   Up to only 50 
kilometers of the 2,401-kilometer land and sea border between the two 
countries have been demarcated by the two sides.   The rest have not and 
may become a cause of conflict in the future. 

    "We are trying to speed up the demarcation of the 2,401-km long 
border as soon as possible.   But the Burmese have not taken any 
positive action so far.   That is why the process has been stalled.   We 
that if talks on the border demarcation can continue between the border 
committees of the two countries, problems will not emerge.   However, 
the Burmese side is still indifferent to the issue," said the source, 
commenting on the talks that have been stalled for many years. 

    Due to this situation, the Thai Armed Forces see that it is 
extremely necessary to send more reinforcements to the western border.   
In recent years, most Thai combat troops were stationed only along the 
eastern borders with Laos and Cambodia, especially during the Vietnamese 

withdrawal from Cambodia. 

    In the last 10 years, the Burmese military has markedly bolstered 
its fighting capabilities with Chinese supplied arms.   It is well known 
that China wants to expand its influence southward.   Between 1991 and 
the Burmese military reportedly stepped up the deployment of more lethal 
weapons with the Chinese military aid, including 12 F-7 fighters, six 
(Hinab)-class frigates, 100 light and medium tanks, a large number of 
armored personnel carriers, and several anti-aircraft batteries. 

    In addition to military assistance from China, Burma also received 
military aid from Yugoslavia and Poland, including a number of G-4 
(Super Galeb)[name rendered in English] fighters and some helicopters. 

    The same report added that in 1992 and 1993, Burma increased 
recruitment into the armed forces, mainly the army.   In 1993 alone, 
some 286,000 men were in active service--a 50-percent increase from 
1988.   Almost all--265,000 to be exact--were drafted into the army. 

    The developments along the western border have posed a big question 
for the Thai Armed Forces and the government whether to regard the 
present situation along the Thai-Burmese border as a threat to 
sovereignty and security.   Even though the Thai Armed Forces may not 
have analyzed the situation to such an extent, the answer to the above 
question is that the situation has caused a certain degree of uneasiness 

among the authorities in charge of maintaining national security. 

    In addition to the land border problems, conflicts have also 
frequently erupted along the sea border.   A Royal Thai Navy report said 
the 3d Region Navy has been commissioned to monitor the intrusion of 
foreign forces into Thailand's part of the Andaman Sea bordering Burmese 
territorial waters.   Thai forces have also sent reinforcements and 
stepped up patrols.   This is because they anticipate that when the 
protracted fighting between the Burmese military regime and the ethnic 
minority forces ends, Burma will launch an offensive to occupy more 
territory in the Andaman Sea known for its rich natural resources.   By 
then, it is certain that conflicts may develop between Thailand and 
Burma.    Therefore, it is necessary for the Thai Armed Forces to be 

    Any future conflict in the territorial waters in the Andaman Sea 
will be confined between Thailand and Burma as they share a long common 
sea border.   However, some military strategists have cautioned that we 
consider China's friendly gesture extended toward Burma in the past 
decade.   China has openly expressed its desire to extend its influence 
into the South China Sea, especially in contesting with Vietnam, 
Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines for the Spratlys and Paracels 

    The military intelligence source said China's attempt to expand its 
naval influence has been done in parallel with Burma's naval expansion.  
 This can be seen from the following: China helping Burma to build a 
base on the (Heng Gi) Island, the development of the naval bases in 
Akyab and (Mergui) (south of the Kra Isthmus near the Thai border), the 
renovation of the naval base and the installation of a radar station on 
the Cocos Island (north of the Andaman Sea), the construction of an 
electronics and signal intelligence sea station to monitor Indian 
missiles and submarines in the Gulf of Bengal. 

    It has been speculated that China's massive military aid is in 
exchange for the use of Burma's naval facilities for rest-and-recreation 
and refueling, thus tremendously boosting the capabilities of the 
fleet in the Gulf of Bengal to the hilt. 

    In terms of military might, especially the state of combat 
readiness, the modernization of armaments both on the land and at sea, 
and in the caliber of its manpower, Thailand is still far superior to 
Burma.   In addition, it is obvious that China's attitude toward 
Thailand is as 
friendly as what it is to Burma lately.   However, the changing 
situation between Thailand and Burma is something the Thai Government 
and Armed Forces cannot afford to neglect.   Therefore, it is very 
interesting to 
keep a close watch and see what strategy the Thai Armed Forces will 
design to safeguard the country's interests and sovereignty. 

Note: Data on the armaments and military manpower of the Burmese Armed 
Forces mentioned in this story have been taken from a book authored by 
Surachat Bamrungsuk in 2000.   [Surachat Bamrungsuk is a professor on 
military affairs at Chulalongkon University]. 



January 2000

Vol 8 No 1

Dr. Myo Nyunt,an economist who has worked with the United Nations, the 
World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, examines the fate of regimes 
that fail to recognize and respond to the forces of globalization.

What went wrong when the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the 
Soviet Union collapsed in 1989? Was the problem one of ideology or 

According to the economist Daniel Chirot, ?The origin of the collapse of 
Communism in East-Central Europe is deeply rooted in post-War 
technological-economic changes?changes with which the countries of the 
region were unable to compete. 

No single factor suffices to explain the ultimate downfall of Communism 
in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but this is not to say that the 
?internal weakness of the system (which) played a major role? in 
bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union was on a par with the 
?international factors . . . of relevance,? including competition in 

What went wrong when the Asian economic miracle hit a wall in 1997? The 
troubles in East Asia and earlier in Mexico were triggered by large 
current-account deficits and difficulties in rolling over short-term 
dollar debts. The rapid growth of the so-called miracle economies of 
East Asia concealed structural weaknesses such as inadequate regulation 
of banks and a lack of transparency in business, which made the 
excessive borrowing of this era especially dangerous. The resulting 
financial bubble ended in many conglomerates going bankrupt, leaving 
domestic banks with a huge number of bad loans.

Rocked by the financial crises in Mexico in 1995-96 and in Asia since 
1997, international financial institutions have struggled to formulate 
means of anticipating potential crises and containing them when they 
occur. But in order to work out appropriate responses to these problems, 
it is necessary to properly understand why such crises occur in the 
first place. 


What went wrong in Eastern Europe? What went wrong in Mexico and Asia? 
The answer to these questions can be summed up in one word: 
?globalization?. Globalization is the term that best captures the 
profound transformation of the world economy since the beginning of the 
1980s. It refers primarily to the progressive elimination of barriers to 
trade and investment and unprecedented international mobility of 
capital. Governments around the world are adjusting their economic 
policies to face the realities of trade liberalization and integration 
into the new global market economy. Globalization also refers to the 
rapidly improving communications and transportation systems that have 
served to reduce distances between different countries and regions, 
enabling not only a greater exchange of goods and services but also of 
information between different countries.

The economic choices that all governments can make regarding their own 
level of involvement in the economy and their own monetary and fiscal 
policies are limited by international factors over which they have no 
control. Governments around the world are adjusting their economic 
policies to face the new realities of integration into the new global 
market economy. We are inescapably part of a change that demands a new 
focus. We have to review and restructure if necessary  existing 
institutions to cope with the globalization process. When our 
institutional patterns do not match the existing historical system, 
crises arise. In all of the countries that have recently found 
themselves in hot water, existing institutions lacked the capacity to 
cope with the globalization process.

Now the economies of East and Southeast Asia are bouncing back to almost 
everybody?s surprise. Thailand has been praised by the international 
community for sorting out its mess faster than other countries in the 
region. Countries that adapt quickly to the globalization process emerge 
from crises sooner; and it is worth noting that just as globalization 
brought the Asian Tigers to their knees, it has also helped them to 
recover. A consumer boom in the United States absorbed exports from 
Asia, as goods became cheaper due to the devaluation of Asian 
currencies. East Asia?s woes made the dollar strong and commodity prices 
weak, which helped to hold down American inflation despite an economy 
running at full employment. That, clearly, should be ascribed to good 
macroeconomic judgment, not luck.

The obverse of globalization is localization, which is reactionary. The 
greatest victim of globalization and the resultant erosion of the 
nationstate is traditional politics. But there is a paradox that even as 
the economy becomes global, politics remains national, as can clearly be 
seen in the countries of Southeast Asia. 

Globalization is a threat to weak or capricious states, but for 
adaptable states, it provides opportunities to foster economic 
development. Unfortunately for Burma, the present regime clings to an 
almost feudalistic notion of localization rather than allowing the 
country to open up to achieve a new level of modernity. Existing 
institutions in Burma are outdated and very vulnerable to the forces of 
globalization. Therefore it seems quite certain that the collapse 
witnessed in Eastern Europe will eventually occur in Burma as well.

Dr. David Dapice, associate faculty fellow of the Harvard Institute for 
International Development, shares this assessment. In his report on 
?Prospects for Sustainable Growth in Burma,? prepared for the United 
Nations Development Program, Dr. Dapice states that ?Burma will collapse 
under the pressure of the globalization process? unless the country 
develops ?a strong and effective legal system, and a set of policies and 
institutions that engender confidence enough for people to save in banks 
and invest in the future without fear that they will, effectively, lose 
even if they succeed.? Without a government that is accountable for its 
actions, however, it is highly unlikely that such policies and 
institutions will ever materialize.              



NEW DELHI, FEB. 23: Pegged at toughly $400 billions annually, the 
illicit global drug trade is also responsible for the diversion of 
nearly $ 150 billions to the mafias in Pakistan, according to a member
of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

"A sizable chunk of the illegal money also finds its way to opium 
cultivators in Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium," and 
INCB member, Mr. Chinmay Chakrabarty, said here today after the release
of the INCB's annual report for 1999.

The report expressed concern over the continued supply of opium from 
South-West Asia and warned that it might increase as a result of the 
record poppy harvests in Afghanistan. It is estimated the 4,6000 metric
tonnes of opium, capable of yielding 460 tonnes of quality heroin, was 
produced in Afghanistan last year.

Heroin manufacture has moved to Afghanistan from Pakistan, where it has 
virtually disappeared. "The Board is concerned about this grave 
situation, which affects not only West Asia, but also Europe and the 
rest of the world," the report said. "Trafficking in raw opium and
heroin from North-Western Myanmar has been on the rise for the past few 
years," it added.

Of concern to India is the new smuggling route leading from Myanmar 
through the border States of Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, mainly to 
overseas markets. The report noted that new routes had been developed
following intensified law enforcement activities in China and Thailand. 
"The illicit cultivation of opium poppy and the production of opiates 
are also taking place in various parts of India and in Nepal," it said.

On legal opium production in India, the INCB noted with concern that 
there had been reports of fraud involving licensed poppy growers whereby 
the growers had reported less crop yield to the authorities and then
sold to drug traffickers the difference between the actual and the 
reported crop yield.

While cannabis and opium have traditionally been the main drugs of 
abuse, the use of heroin and synthetic drugs was rapidly increasing. 
However, the abuse of stimulants ? cocaine and ecstasy ? appears to be 
limited, the INCB report said.

Certain areas in South Asia had emerged as major drug trafficking 
centres and had witnessed rapid deterioration of trafficking or abuse. 
These areas included the Chittagong port in Bangladesh, the 
North-Eastern part of India, in particular Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland
and the Indo-Pakistan border areas, as well as Mumbai and Delhi...

The regional representative of the U.N. Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), 
Ms. Renate Ehmer, said that as India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, 
Nepal and Sri Lanka were wedged between the two main opium- producing
areas ? Afghanistan and Myanmar ? there was rise in drug abuse in these 




Feb. 2000


Dozens of businesses big and small have pulled out of Burma.  One of the 
few left are big wealthy oil companies fixed on the Yadana pipeline.  
Will they ever stop?  What have they been doing lately?  
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Hundreds of thousands of refugees are being driven into neighboring 
Thailand, India, Bangladesh, and China.  Discuss the most needed aid and 
the best way to provide it.  What's the UNHCR doing?  What's the latest 
policy of the Thai govt?  Want to change it?   Visiting
Thailand soon?  Ask these folks what to take and how to help.  
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Burma provides half the world's heroin.  The Generals use the money to 
buy more guns.  Can it be stopped?   Controlled?  Drug addiction inside 
Burma is soaring.  What can be done? 
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Women's Issues 
Rape, prostitution, aids, severe absence of healthcare for themselves 
and their children.  There're plenty of problems to discuss.  But the 
strong women of Burma weather it all, finding unique ways for their
families and villages to survive in the city, the jungle, the border, 
and abroad. 
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Heroin + poverty + prostitution + ignorance = a very big AIDS problem.  
The paranoid military govt makes it impossible to get accurate figures, 
much less provide aid or education, but estimates of HIV infection are 
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Schools and universities have been shut for seven out of ten years 
between 1988-98.  The future of Burma is at stake - thousands of Burmese 
youth, have, for decades been denied reasonable hope for bettering their 
lives. Education is the most basic right that citizens of any country 
should be accorded. 
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Green (environment) 
Burma's natural beauty is exquisite.  But down to their last dime, the 
junta has no time to care for the environment.  Roads, pipelines, and 
pollution are moving in.  What can be done before it's too late? 
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Regional: Canada 
Canadian Friends of Burma 
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All correspondence is in french. 
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BurmaNet adds:

The Burma Courier is a weekly digest of Burma news and commentary. News, 
comments and letters from readers are welcomed. To subscribe or 
unsubscribe contact <celsus@xxxxxxxxx> Hardcopy edition is also 
available to readers in Canada who don't have access to email.
P.O.Box 30128, 8602 Granville St., Vancouver BC  Canada V6P 6S3



February 24, 2000

February 7th: Indonesias President Wahid will visit Brussels, Belgium.

 February 7-11th		: Activists to Hold Week-long Vigil to Draw Attention 
to Burma?s Plight, Washington. Contact Jeremy Woodrum, Free Burma 
Coalition: 202/387-8030 or Dan Beeton, Washington, DC Burma Activist 
Network: 202/625-6421

February 12th: National Union Day in Burma (Official)

February 18th : Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will visit India and 

February 25-26th: 4th  ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting, Bandar Seri 
March 2nd : Anniversary of 1962 Coup and Farmers Day 
March 8th: International Women's Day 

March 10-12th : Days of Prays for Burma.

March 16-31st:ILO 277th Session of the Governing Body and its 
committees, Geneva
March 18th : "Bloddy Friday" (1988)
March 13th: Burma Human Rights Day (Unofficial)

March 22nd: Rally for the Massachusetts Burma Law, Supreme Court 
Building, USA.

March 20th ? 28th April: 56th session of the Commission on Human Rights, 
March 25-26th : 4th  ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting, Bandar Seri 
March 27th: Resistance Day in Burma

March 31 ? April 3rd: Free Burma! A Conference on Freedom, Human Rights, 
and Activism,  Washington DC. Contact: Jeremy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

April 29-30th	: Nordic Burma Studies Group, Göteborg
April 30th ? May 6th : 103rd Inter-Parliamentary Conference, Amman

May 1-5th: World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and 
May 24th : Ne Win's birthday (1911)
May 27th	: Anniversary of the 1990 election

May 30th- June 15th	:88th Session of the International Labour 
Conference, Geneva

June 5-9th:Beijing +5 Review, UN, New York

June 6th	:278th Session of the Governing Body, Geneva

June 18th: Fundraising benefit at the Royal Court Theatre, London
June 19th : Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday and Burmese Women's Day

June 24th: Burma Solidarity Meeting, Dublin

July 7th	: Commemoration of bombing of student union and shooting in 

July 19th : Martyrs Day (Official)

July 24-25th: 33rd  ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM), Bangkok

July 27th: 7th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Bangkok
July 28-29th: 33rd ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC), Bangkok

August 8th : 12th Anniversary of the 8-8-88 uprising 

September 18th: Anniversary of SLORC Coup, 1988

September 24th: National League for Democracy formed 1988

October	: 104th Inter-Parliamentary Conference, Jakarta

November 2-17th:279th Session of the Governing Body and its committees, 

February 24, 2000
Place Temperature Humidity Pressure Conditions Updated
Bhamo	78° F / 26° C36%	1013 hPa	Clear 
Dawei	92° F / 33° C57%	1011 hPa	Haze 
Hkamti	74° F / 23° C41%-			Partly Cloudy 
Homalin	76° F / 24° C47%1015 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Kalewa	80° F / 27° C22%1013 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Katha	77° F / 25° C52%1012 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Kengtung	79° F / 26° C29%1010 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Kyaukpyu	81° F / 27° C57%1012 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Lashio	80° F / 27° C25%1009 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Mandalay	84° F / 29° C33%1013 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Meiktila	84° F / 29° C23%1012 hPa		Clear 
Mergui	86° F / 30° C68%1011 hPa		Haze 
Mindat	72° F / 22° C30%-			Partly Cloudy 
Monywa	84° F / 29° C44%1013 hPa		Clear 
Myitkyina	78° F / 26° C29%1013 hPa		Haze 
Prome	93° F / 34° C30%1012 hPa		Haze 
Sandoway	91° F / 33° C51%1011 hPa		Partly Cloudy 
Sittwe	80° F / 27° C47%1010 hPa		Haze 
Toungoo	91° F / 33° C27%1010 hPa		Clear 
Victoria Point 77° F / 25° C91%1010hPa	Haze
Yangon	N/A° F / -N/A-				Partly Cloudy 


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