[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index ][Thread Index ]

[theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: Ju

Reply-To: theburmanetnews-owner@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [theburmanetnews] BurmaNet News: July 6, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

July 6, 2000

Issue # 1571

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

*Inside Burma

















__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________


July 6, 2000

YANGON, Myanmar (AP)
 Australia said Wednesday it is supporting human rights workshops for 
50 Myanmar state officials despite the opposition of pro-democracy 
leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

 Australian experts are conducting two workshops for officials 
including those from the Myanmar home affairs and education 
ministries in Yangon July 4-13. A third will be held in October to 
review the outcome of the first two. 

 Suu Kyi's party won general elections in 1990 but the results were 
ignored by the military which has ruled in Myanmar, also known as 
Burma, since 1962. Hundreds of pro-democrats have been jailed. 

 ``Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains opposed to the initiative from the 
point of view of principle and her view is respected,'' said a 
statement from Australian Agency for International Development. 

 ``But in the absence of any other effective measures to improve the 
human rights situation in Myanmar the Australian government considers 
the proposal is worth pursuing.'' 

 The statement, that was released in Canberra and made available in 
Yangon, said other international approaches had not ``significantly 
influenced change'' in the last 12 years.
 The workshops will address human rights as reflected in the roles of 
different United Nations agencies and will feature sessions on 
economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights, it said. 

 Australia stirred criticism from opponents of the military regime 
when it sent a top official last August to broach the idea of setting 
up an independent human rights commission in Myanmar. 

 Suu Kyi urges international isolation of the regime, as most Western 
governments have done since a crackdown on a nationwide pro-democracy 
uprising in 1988 when the military gunned down thousands of 

 The human rights workshops are part of an assistance package worth 
Australian dlrs 4.5 million (US dlrs 2.7 million), also including 
community health projects and aid for resettlement of refugees. 



Oslo Democratic Voice of Burma in Burmese 1245 GMT 30  Jun 00
 [DVB correspondent Myint Maung Maung dispatch]
 [FBIS Translated Text]

     China-Burma are to hold joint military exercises in coming July 
and  August in the
 Coastal Region Command.   Local villagers are being asked to 
contribute  labor for
 building temporary military lodgings for Chinese and Burmese 
military  personnel who
 will be taking part in the exercises.   DVB [Democratic Voice of 
Burma]  correspondent

 Myint Maung Maung sent the following dispatch:
     [Begin Myint Maung Maung recording] Military planes, warships, 
naval  vessels and
 Army officers from the Chinese Armed Forces will take part in the 
military  exercises to
 be held between Tavoy and Mergui.   Military planes and 150 
paratroopers  from
 Hmawbi Air Force Base and Tenasserim Air Base and warships and 
naval  vessels from
 Tenasserim Naval Base from the Burmese Armed Forces will take part 
in the  exercises.   Outstanding members from the Artillery and Armor 
Corps of the  Army and
 the Light Infantry Divisions and Light Infantry Battalions from Nos. 
1, 2,  and 3 Tactical Command Headquarters under the Coastal Command 
will take part in the  military exercises.
     It is also learned that local people have been asked to 
contribute  labor to build
 temporary lodgings in the area for the military exercises.   Village 
peace  and
 development councils in Mergui and Tavoy Districts are requiring 
each  village to provide 50 volunteers.   Villagers living near the 
site of the military exercises  are to work as volunteers to build 
huts and those living far from the site are to cut,  gather, and send 
timber and bamboo. [end recording]

 [Description of Source: Description of Source: Oslo Democratic Voice 
of  Burma in
 Burmese -- anti-government radio run by the National Coalition 
Government  of the
 Union of Burma]

___________________________ REGIONAL ___________________________


July 7, 2000

By Rahul Bedi
New Delhi, July 6

Army Chief Ved Prakash Malik returned home on Thursday
after his second trip in six months to Burma in an
attempt to forge closer defence links with Rangoon's
long ignored military junta.

Gen. Malik was accompanied by three Army officers,
including a major general and an Indian Navy commodore
from Fortress Andaman and Nicobar, the tri-service
unified command at Port Blair. Officials were
tight-lipped about Gen. Malik's visit, but official
sources said India wanted firmer military ties with
Rangoon to offset China's proliferating influence in

Official sources said this would probably be Gen.
Malik's last visit to a foreign country before he
retires on September 30. They said Gen. Malik was the
most widely travelled Army Chief ever, having visited
over 20 countries during his three-year tenure.

Gen. Malik's visit to Rangoon is part of a recent
diplomatic initiative by India to develop a closer
relationship with the Burmese military establishment
which New Delhi had disregarded for decades. The
Burmese naval chief visited New Delhi early this year
as part of this detente and more reciprocal visits by
military officers are likely over the next few months,
principally to counter Chinese influence.

Beijing is helping Burma modernise its naval bases at
Hainggyi, the Coco's islands, Akyab and Mergui by
building radar, refit and refuel facilities that could
support Chinese submarine operations in the area. The
Chinese are also believed to be establishing a Signals
Intelligence facility on the Coco's islands, 30 km from
the Andamans, to monitor Indian missile tests off the
Orissa coast, an activity that has proliferated after
the 1998 nuclear tests.

Defence minister George Fernandes has declared that
Hianggyi base was a joint Sino-Burmese naval
establishment and that the Coco's islands had been
"loaned" to Beijing where missiles targeting India were
deployed. China is reportedly training Burmese naval
intelligence officials and helping Rangoon execute
surveys of its coastline contiguous to India.

New Delhi's fears over Beijing's ambitions in the
Indian Ocean region gained credence in 1994 after the
Coast Guard detained three Chinese trawlers with
Burmese flags that were equipped with sophisticated
tracking and surveying equipment and arrested the crews
for spying. Despite the Navy's protests, the crew was
released by the government a few months later under
pressure from Beijing ahead of the annual meeting of
the Sino-Indian Joint Working Group.

Chinese ambitions in the Indian ocean have led to India
wanting to raise the Navy's fourth command on the
Andamans with headquarters at Port Blair. The plan,
shelved due to a resource crunch and reluctance to
annoy Beijing, envisaged upgraded surveillance and
monitoring stations across the 750 km long Andaman and
Nicobar archipelago of 309 islands spanning 8,250 km
that is 1,200 km from the Indian mainland but
contiguous to the worrisome Chinese presence in Burma.

"Till now China has been a land neighbour but through
Burma it may soon become our maritime neighbour," a
naval officer said. Such moves by Beijing of encircling
India merit serious attention, he said.



July 6, 2000

New Delhi, July 6, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)

While Indian Army Chief V.P Malik is on an official visit in Rangoon, 
Burma's intelligence chief and Secretary No. (1) of ruling SPDC Lt. 
General Khin Nyunt is out in Pakistan, an arch rival of India. 
Pakistan is known to be supplying arms and ammunition to Burma junta 
for quite some years and there is a strong link between the 
intelligence agencies of two countries. Lt. General Khin Nyunt is the 
highest-ranking Burmese junta official to visit Pakistan since 1974.

Though Indian government does not make any public response on the 
visit (in fact, there is almost no news on Khin Nyunt's visit to 
Pakistan in the Indian media), policy makers in New Delhi are 
definitely watching closely on the visit of Burmese delegation to 
Pakistan. But the visit and continuing close ties between Burma and 
Pakistan will not have any immediate shift on IndiaÆs policy towards 
Burma i.e. to establish a ôworking relationship?Ewith the military 
junta in power.

The following is excerpts from an interview with Dr. Swaran Singh, 
research fellow at New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and 
Analyses (IDSA).

The second part of this will be interview with Mr. Brahma Chellaney 
who is professor of security studies at Centre for Policy Research 
(CPR) in New Delhi.

Excerpts from interview with Dr. Swaran Singh

Q: Currently, Burma's Lt. General Khin Nyunt is in Pakistan and 
India's Army Chief is in Burma. What is your view on this India-
Burma-Pakistan triangle relationships?

A: As we know a military delegation from Burma is right now in 
Pakistan and this is part of the relationship, which has evolved, in 
last few years. In fact, both India and Pakistan and many other 
countries have a sort of got into engaged in Burma in last five or 
six years. And broadly, this relationship between Pakistan and Burma 
on the one hand and India and Burma on the other should be seen in 
that context that Burma has opened up and outside countries have 
gradually started building relations. And the only difference which 
should be understood in this context of comparing India relationship 
with Burma and Pakistan's relationship with Burma is that Pakistan?Es relat=
ionship with Burma has been very military-oriented. Partly 
because of the military culture or political culture of Pakistan that 
the kind of relationship has evolved much around military 
relationship and military ties between these two countries. We also 
had earlier known that they were building an air base for Burma and 
they also supplied equipment to Burma. 
In the case of India, we have not been a sort of engaged in that kind 
of relationship. We have not involved in supplying weapons to them or 
building any that sort of military facilities. India's relationship 
with Burma has concentrated more on trade and other kinds of 
political relationship which involves official exchanges and all 
other variety of things that can happen between these two countries. 
Border management I think is one major issue for us too.

So, I think that is a major difference when you look at India and 
Pakistan both separately approaching Burmese authorities. Indian 
military chief General Malik is now in Rangoon and he has signed some 
more agreements on border management and perhaps some other issues 
that in fact further enforces the fact that Indian relationship is 
much more broad-based, and much more holistic.

It is not focused so much more on supplying military equipment or any 
sort of helping military junta in building military there. Pakistani 
relationship will be again known now once this delegation has 
completed deliberations in Pakistan and we will come to know as to 
what Khin Nyunt and his other members of delegation are going to 
focus on while during the visit in Pakistan.

But I assume again things that the main focus will be how to help 
military junta in sustaining itself first and for that they obviously 
need equipment for military weapons and other things.

Q: Ministry of External Affairs was quite tight-lipped on this 
Burmese visit to Pakistan. What could be the position of India on 
Khin Nyunt's visit?

A: The visit led by Khin Nyunt is definitely going to be a matter of 
concern for New Delhi policy makers especially because we know 
earlier instances where Khin Nyunt is clearly the man who established 
Burma relationships with China and the kind of relationship with 
China shared with Burma was nearly that of making Burma as another 
province of China. It was very military-oriented again. I am sure 
Khin Nyunt being in Pakistan with strong delegation of 20 people is 
definitely a matter of concern here. People are watching carefully 
and want to know what is going to happen during this deliberation, 
especially as I said earlier because relationship is military 
oriented that definitely means that India must keep its eyes and ears 
very clearly open and notice what is happening in neighborhood. Burma 
is a very important country for India especially because India has 
been trying to open up and build relationship with bigger areas of 
South East Asia and what happens in Burma is definitely a major 
concern for us.

Q: What could be the position of India if it has to choose between 
Lt. General Khin Nyunt and General Maung Aye who are the two 
supposedly strong contenders for the post of SPDC chairman in future? 

A: It is of course known clearly that Khin Nyunt was actually 
military intelligence chief and he has been known to having a 
tremendous hold on how the things operate in Burma and has generally 
been known responsible for all sorts things that happened over last 
decade. General Maung Aye by comparison is a sort of known as low-
profile person by comparison and he is also not as ônotorious?Eif 
one could use that word. It definitely is important for India to see 
a person who should be an easier person to deal with.

But in fact to start with to deal with military was a big question 
for us. You know, we spent long long years to think whether we should 
deal with the military junta or shouldnÆt. I think this is only 
another question of its similar nature for us that in case Khin Nyunt 
comes to hold that important chair, after General Than Shwe retires, 
India should find itself in relatively difficult position in that 
case than dealing with Maung Aye.

Q: What do you think on the view of China fostering relationship 
between Burma and Pakistan?

A: I am sure during early 1990s, there was a lot of discussions and 
reporting on what was called ôencirclement?Eof India and a lot of 
people did mention how China was building relationships with Burma on 
the one hand and the Pakistan on the other. If this kind of 
relationship is beginning to strengthen itself, I think this make it 
some sort of triangle which can work against India's interest in 
future. So Burma and Pakistan are building relationship especially of 
military nature and China already has relations of military nature of 
both Pakistan and Burma. Definitely this emerges as certain amount of 
strategic triangle which can be sort of someway impinging on India's 
national interests in future at some date. But definitely as yet, 
this third leg of the triangle seems not so strong.

Q: Do you expect any shift, if there is any on Burma, in India's 
foreign policy towards Burma, because of growing ties between Burma 
and Pakistan?

A: I think India's foreign policy is not sort of expected to take 
any major shift in future when it comes to Burma. What has happened 
is that we have accepted the international trend and started opening 
relationship with the military regime there partly because they have 
stayed there for last ten years and because everyone else is being to 
deal with them. But we have also kept our options clearly open and we 
have continued large section of Indian decision-makers and public at 
large have continued to support democracy movement in Burma. So the 
option is always open for us. But let me say that India does not have 
to get too much worried about these each time meetings taken place 
like this. In last five to six months, if you observe India has 
clearly been seen internationally as a very responsible country and 
the country, which has to be reckoned with when you talk of South 
Asia. So India's views and India's policy will definitely make its 
own influence in international decision-making various forums. India 
ultimately supports democracy. We are a democracy and we support 
democracy in both Burma and Pakistan. So that remains the bottom line 
in our case though it has a transitory as a sort of small transition 
period when we have to deal with the military.



NEW DELHI, July 6 (Reuters) - Leaders of a grouping of  countries 
around the rim of the Bay of Bengal pledged on  Thursday to turn 
their fledgling organisation into a powerful  economic grouping.   
The three-year-old association, which includes India,  Thailand, 
Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka began its third  ministerial 
meeting aiming to deepen ancient trading links and  cooperation in 
new areas such as information technology and food  processing.   

"This is a natural trading group that has a historical  precedent and 
geographical relevance," Indian Foreign Minister  Jaswant Singh told 
"Not too long ago, traders from our lands travelled on  camel, or 
horseback, or by boats and dhows to sell and buy goods  from each 
other," he said.   

BIMST-EC, as the group is called has focused on building  links in 
transport, communications, energy and technology  between the 

Singh said there was potential to cooperate in food  processing, 
information technology, infrastructure industry,  agriculture and 
human resources.   

"We ought to commit ourselves to reducing the gap between  promise 
and reality," he said.   

Bangladesh's state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan  Chowdhury 
said that BIMST-EC could be a link between South and  South-East 
Asia. "We feel that Thailand and Myanmar, being  partners of ASEAN 
have much to offer us," he said.   
Tourism was another key area which the grouping could focus  on, Sri 
Lanka said. "We must encourage the middle class in our  region to 
travel among our own countries," Deputy Minister for  Foreign Affairs 
Lakshman Kiriella said.   

He said while BIMST-EC was primarily an economic grouping,  there 
could be a forum on its fringes to address security  concerns of 
"It is my hope that BIMST-EC while concentrating mainly on  economic 
cooperation should also on the fringes of these  meetings provide a 
forum to extend assistance to member  countries on issues relating to 
security concerns in the Bay of  Bengal region," he said. 
Sri Lanka has been battling Tamil Tiger rebels who want a  separate 
homeland for the country's minority Tamils in the north  and east 
since 1983. 



July 5,2000.

>From Nurul Alam

CHITTAGONG, July 4: Repatriation of 369 Burma nationals who have 
already completed their terms of imprisonment has become uncertain 
due to lack of clearance from Burma's border guards NASAKA, said a 
government source.  
They were arrested in the last ten years on charges of illegal 
fishing, poaching and trespassing and are now languishing in the 
jails in Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Noakhali, Comilla and Mymensingh, 
the source added.  

On May 12 this year, 108 Burma nationals who completed jail terms 
here were pushed back into their homeland following an inconclusive 
flag meeting between the border guard officials of the two 
neighbouring countries at Teknaf point, the source said.  

The Burma border guard officials declined to take back 369 nationals 
as they could not yet verify and confirm their identities, the source 
further said.  

BDR authorities lodged protests with NASAKA in this regard, but no 
clearance has so far been received against those 369 people, sources 
concerned said.  

Efforts are on to take up the issue of repatriation of 369 Burma 
nationals at foreign ministry level, they added.  

Meanwhile, over 500 other Burma nationals are reportedly staying in 
different jails as under-trial prisoners after arrest on different 

__________________ INTERNATIONAL __________________



Burmese dissidents in and around Tokyo collected signatures Saturday 
and Sunday for a petition to July Okinawa G-8 summit leaders to put 
the Burma issue on the summit agenda and to urge Burma's ruling junta 
to stop all human rights violations and to start a dialogue with Aung 
San Suu Kyi and the National League of Democracy paving the way for 
the junta to hand over power to those duly elected in the 1990 
general elections.

Taking advantage of their days-off some thirty Burmese democracy 
activists collected signatures from passers-by to be sent with a 
petition to G8 leaders requesting them to take up the Burma problem 
at the G-8 summit to be held in Japan's southernmost prefecture from 
the 21st of this month. 

Activists from the Burmese Women's Union, Burmese Association in 
Japan, Burma Youth Volunteer Association,NLD(L.A-Japan Branch)members 
and individual activists for human rights and pro-democracy activists 
and supporters of Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her 
party, the National League for Democracy, handed out bilingual 
leaflets in Japanese and English to passers-by, explaining human 
rights violations by the ruling junta which still has not handed over 
power to the winners of the 1990 general elections.

Meanwhile, two NLD(Liberated Area-Japan Branch) members have started 
their trip to western Japan and handed out the leaflets to the 
Japanese people and collecting the signature for a petition to July 
Okinawa G-8 summit leaders to put the Burma issue on forthcoming 

They passed through big cities such Kawasaki, Yokohama, Hiratsuka, 
Odawara, and finished at Nagoya as first phase. They stayed at Nagoya 
for couple of days and joined with the pro-democracy activists in 
Nagoya to campaign Burma issue among Japanese people.

The second phase of their journey will finish at Osaka.

The following is a Japanese government's Foreign ministry's home page 
for Okinawa G8 summit.    To send an appeal to the Japanese 
government to stop helping the military regime in Burma go to the MoFA
(Japan) web page and give your opinion. 

      The URL is http://www.g8kyushu-

      The Government welcomes e-mailed opinions from the public 
regarding the G8 Summit. If you would like to send your view to the 
Government, please send it to the address below with your name, 
organization, address, and telephone number. Views that have been 
expressed by many senders are posted on this page, together with the 
Government's position on the topic concerned (Sender's individual 
identity will not be posted).  




National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest 
gratitude and highest appreciation to all of you for your continued 
efforts and dedication to Burma's struggle for democracy and freedom.

1.	201    MPs at IPU conference in Jordan already signed up 
for their Solidarity with the MPs of Burma (representing 82 
2.	132    MPs of Ireland
3.	 84	 MPs of Norway
4.	 78    MPs of Denmark
5.	 73    MPs of Belgium
6.	 68    MPs of Estonia
7.	 63*   Members of the United States Congress (18 Senators 
and 45 House of Representatives)
8.     53    MPs of European Parliament
9.	 44    MPs of Finland
10.    37    MPs of Switzerland
11.    35    MPs and Senators from Canada
12.	 32    MPs of Australia
13.	 30    MPs of Nepal
14.	 30    MPs of San Marino
15.	 26    MPs of the Netherlands
16.	 19    MPs of Mauritius
17.	 14    MPs of Portugal
18.	  3    MPs of Cambodia (including Sam Rainsy, Chair of the 
Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats)
19.	  2    MPs of Italy
20.	  1    MP of France

* 63 members of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United 
States signed up for the co-sponsorship of the concurrent resolution 
on Burma (S.CON.RES. 113 IS and H.CON.RES. 328 IH respectively, 
expressing the sense of the Congress in recognition of the 10th 
anniversary of the free and fair elections in Burma and the urgent 
need to improve the democratic and human rights of the people of 

1025 MPs representing over 80 countries have already signed the MP 
in support of the legitimate MPs of the Union of Burma.

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________


July 19-25  ,2000                             

INDUSTRIAL zones, hammered by the Asian downturn at the end of the 
1990s, are again starting to come back into flavour with the latest 
being built out near Yangon's International Airport ready to compete 
vigourously than others less strategically located. Already about 
US$9 million has been spent on the 3000-acre Yangon Industrial Zone 
out near the international airport, 12 miles from the centre of the 
city. The project originated as the Mingaladon Garden City, an 
upmarket housing estate, but now one-third of it has been allocated 
for industrial use and is a mere 30-minute drive from the heart of 
the capital. Lying along Highway No.3, it has easy access to No 1 
Highway both of which lead to the city of Yangon. 

The project will be developed in two phases. "We've got the best of 
everything: location, design and price," said Dr Khin Shwe, Chairman 
of Zaygabar, the developing company. "I have developed this land into 
such a way that foreigners will have a good impression on Myanmar 
before they even touch the ground. Articulate care has been taken in 
turning this farm land into a fully developed housing estate cum 
industrial zone with the full facilities and amenities of a town. 

"It is the best location among the industrial zones in Yangon. No 
bridge has to be crossed and that's a major advantage. As well we 
have strong availability of labour. Being surrounded by the area 
where most of the residents are from the working class, it won't have 
to fear any shortage of local labour," he said. According to the 
developer power transmission lines link direct to the Hlawga power 
station and an 11-kv power grid runs through the industrial zone. 

200 fixed line telephones will be installed and US$48,000 has been 
paid to the Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) for the 
purchase of telephone cables. "Our infrastructure is amongst the best 
among the industrial zones. Drainage has been built across the 
industrial estate and there is a mini reservoir to ensure adequate 
water for the trees and plants in the area. Reinforced concrete roads 
are 15 inches thick and can bear 30 tons of weight. This is the sort 
of detail we have attended to," he said. 

"All plots of land in the industrial estate will be on the same level 
as the work required will be done by the company. A total of 40 heavy 
machine is being used for the project. "We will also put in a water 
treatment plant so that industrial waste can be treated before it is 
disposed of into the system. Dr Khin Shwe said the winning factor was 
also the zone's competitive pricing structure.

 "We sell at US$0.88 per square feet or US$38,000 per acre. And we 
don't require the purchaser to level the ground which would cost 
about US$15,000 more," he said. The purchase of an acre of land in 
the Hlaingthaya industrial zone, by comparison, costs US$22,000 to 
US$26,000 but, according to Dr Khin Shwe, "investors get only a plot 
of land marked by pegs in each corner." "For foreign investors we 
lease at US$3/year per square metre. This compares to US$55 being 
quoted by the adjacent Mitsui Industrial Park. The industrial zone 
part of the development extends over 1000 acres. 
Reinforced roads under construction 
Since the start of its sale about three months ago 157.5 acres have 
been sold. Each plot is at least two acres wide. Garment, parquet, 
furniture, steel structure and soft-drinks factories will be set up 
in the area. During the "sales promotional period" a purchaser is 
required to pay 40 per cent of the price as down payment and the rest 
can be settled by paying 12 monthly installments over a year. The 
industrial zone is part of the Mingaladon Garden City Project. The 
original plan was to create a high-class housing estate but it fell 
short of expectation because of the collapse of the property market 
in late 1998."When the property market became stagnant, it was a hard 
blow to the developers.

The consequence was that banks no longer wished to lend money to the 
real estate people and people lost confidence in them," he 
revealed. "Our sales cooled down when a government enterprise sold 
its housing units at a 50pc discount," he said. Dr Khin Shwe said he 
believed the property market was on the move and full pre-Asian 
financial crisis levels could be back in two years. And he called for 
more favourable conditions for manufacturers to start or expand their 
business. "People are doing trade because it is more favourable for 
them to do that. If conditions are created in such a way that 
manufacturing is equally or more favourable than others, many people 
will take up the challenge. "There should be more incentives from the 
state to enable the local manufacturers to start their own 
operations," he said. 




Vol.8 No.6, June 2000


Recently, Gen Maung Aye, vice chairman of the State Peace and 
Development Council (SPDC) visited China to mark the 50th anniversary 
of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Burma and China. 
In Beijing, the two countries agreed on a framework for bilateral 
relations in the 21st century, pledging to increase economic and 
diplomatic ties. At home, however, the Burmese media openly stated 
that the purpose of the visit was to strengthen military ties. In 
fact, it is no secret that in 1989, Burma agreed to purchase US$ 1-2 
billion worth of weapons, including jet fighters, tanks and naval 
ships, from China. Since then, ChinaÆs defence industry has helped 
to dramatically upgrade Burma's military capabilities. Chinese 
Defense Minister Chi Haotian acknowledged this aspect of Sino-Burmese 
relations when he noted that cooperation between the armed forces of 
the two countries is firmly rooted. 

Burma's increasingly heavy reliance on China has become a major 
source of concern among other Asian nations. Analysts and 
intelligence sources continue to believe that Burma has allowed China 
to build a listening post on Coco Island in the Bay of Bengal, 
despite denials from Rangoon and Beijing. Last year, Burma's army 
spokesman said that the regime would never allow "foreign troops" on 
its soil and insisted that Burma would never become a "client" state 
of China. Recently, however, news from Rangoon indicates that a team 
of Chinese military engineers has been active in southern Burma, 
helping with the construction of Burmese naval bases.  
In any case, Sino-Burmese relations seem to be stronger than ever. 
But sadly, the effect of this development has been far from positive 
for the Burmese people. 
With support from Beijing, the Rangoon junta's grip on power has 
grown stronger over the past decade, and shows no signs of weakening. 
The sight of Chinese-made tanks on the streets of Rangoon every time 
the regime feels threatened by open displays of popular discontent is 
by now a familiar one, and has done little to improve Beijing's 
image amongst ordinary Burmese.  
Nor would many Burmese have felt inclined to commiserate with Chinese 
leaders as Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt did following the Tiananmen massacre in 
1989: "We sympathize with the People's Republic of China as 
disturbances similar to those in Burma last year broke out in the 
People's Republic," said the Burmese junta leader in an official 
Chinese leaders have also been pleased with Rangoon's frequent 
reiteration of its support for the "one China" policy regarding 

The current military regime is not the first Burmese government to 
pursue friendly relations with China, and there is nothing wrong with 
maintaining friendly ties with neighboring countries, particularly 
one like China, which has the potential to become a major global 
player in the 21st century. 

Unfortunately, however, Beijing's willingness to back an 
illegitimate regime that is regarded as a pariah state by much of the 
rest of the world reflects badly on its own qualifications to fulfill 
a future role as a world leader.  

This is not China-bashing, because we understand that even after 
democracy is restored to Burma, favorable relations with China will 
remain crucial. But such relations must be based on the desires of 
the people of Burma and China, not just on a marriage of convenience 
between authoritarian rulers. 

Even the current regime in Beijing must recognize that military rule 
in Burma is damaging to its own interests as well as those of the 
Burmese people. The flow of drugs and refugees across Burma's 
borders has had a destabilizing effect on the entire region, 
including China. Ethnic tensions have festered rather than healed in 
response to military repression, and continue to breed insurgencies 
that stand in the way of efforts to build trade routes that would 
link the world's two most populous countries, China and India, to 
the dynamic region of Southeast Asia.  

Even in its direct dealings with the Burmese junta, China has reason 
to question Rangoon's reliability as an international partner. Trade 
between the two countries is frequently beset by inconsistencies in 
the regime's economic policies. In 1997-98, Sino-Burmese trade 
plummeted to just two-thirds of its value in the previous year, from 
$600 million to $400 million, when Rangoon arbitrarily imposed 
restrictions on border trade, much to the chagrin of policymakers in 

Wisely enough, China has not put all of its eggs in the SPDC basket. 
It has long allowed Burmese ex-communist leaders to remain in China 
on the condition that they not engage in anti-Rangoon campaigns. More 
significantly, recent reports say that in the past few years, Beijing 
has renewed its contacts with the National League for Democracy 
(NLD), the party that overwhelmingly won elections held in 1990. It 
should be remembered that the Chinese ambassador to Burma was amongst 
the first to congratulate the NLD on its victory ten years ago. China 
was also believed to have played a role in nudging the regime towards 
dialogue in 1995. 

But this has done little to diminish resentment over ChinaÆs growing 
influence in Burma. Local Chinese are especially concerned about the 
occasional flare-ups of anti-Chinese sentiment that have a great deal 
to do with perceptions that Beijing is the major force behind the 
hated regime.
If China is not overly concerned at this stage about what the Burmese 
people think, it should at least pay attention to the demands of its 
own people. Although the country is set to become a member of a World 
Trade Organization (WTO) and hopes to enjoy a more important role on 
the world economic stage, it continues to lag in its recognition of a 
growing international consensus that favors more popular 
participation in political processes. Once Chinese leaders come to 
appreciate the value of democracy as an essential element in any 
nation's quest for development, they will surely understand why the 
Burmese people continue to believe in the choice that they made a 
decade ago. And China will, in turn, finally become the trusted and 
respected partner that it has long sought to be. 




28 June 2000

The Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Laurie Brereton, today 
called on the Howard Government to cancel its human rights training 
program with Burma's military regime.  

"Labor has expressed strong reservations about the Howard 
Government's plans to step up its engagement with Burma's military 
regime", Mr Brereton said.   

"The Howard Government's $100,000 program to conduct human rights 
workshops for Burmese Government officials marks the resumption of 
direct government-to-government aid to Burma.  This program 
represents a significant shift in Australian Government policy."  

"The first of these workshops is planned to be held in Rangoon next 
month. The second workshop is scheduled to take place in September.  
Approximately 75 Burmese Government officials will receive training 
in the initial program.  The Burmese military will have the final say 
on who participates." 

"This program comes in the absence of any real human rights 
commitments from Rangoon or benchmarks against which performance will 
be measured.  Burma's human rights situation appears as bad as ever.  
The Howard Government's initiative appears naive and unlikely to 
bring any substantive benefit to the long suffering Burmese people."

"At a Senate Estimates Hearing on 31 May, senior DFAT officers 
admitted that 'the likely [human rights] impact of this exercise is 
at the margin'."   

"The Howard Government's decision to proceed with the human rights 
training program has been strongly criticised by Burma's democracy 
movement including Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.  What is required 
in Burma is fundamental political change and real movement toward the 
restoration of democratic processes.  The only consequence of this 
ill-considered initiative may be to give international legitimacy to 
Burma's military regime." 

Mr Brereton noted that the Government has emphasised that no training 
will be provided to the Burmese armed forces and that courses will be 
delivered to middle ranking civil servants from Ministries including 
Foreign Affairs, Attorney-General's, Home Affairs and the Burmese 

"It is no surprise that the Government emphasises this distinction, 
but no one should have any illusions about the regime in Rangoon and 
the extent of military control over the bureaucracy, police and 
judiciary", Mr Brereton said.  "Burmese Government agencies are 
deeply implicated in the repressive practices of the military regime 
and unlikely to be influenced or reformed by a limited Australian 
human rights training program."  

"Labor considered view is that this program should be cancelled.  The 
funds involved could be more usefully spent to programs to assist 
Burmese refugees and the many victims of human rights abuse in 

_____________________ OTHER  ______________________


The list has existed since early February and was at that time closed 
for strategy discussions etc. Since then, it's been purged of 
sensitive materials and opened up to anyone that's interested. The 
list is devoted solely to education in Burma, already has a good 
number of subscribers from all over the world and contains nearly 50 
articles, reports etc. related to education matters in Burma. I would 
yhink it would be of interest to campaigners of all sorts. According 
to an agreement made between us, it replaces the other egroups list 
devoted to this issue, the Burmaed- list. 

Please access the list and register to become a member or send a 
request to ronny@xxxxxxxxxxxx 
This service is intended to facilitate the exchange of information 
and articles about the educational situation  in Burma. It is also a 
place to share ideas about the worldwide campaign for educational 
reform in Burma and the reopening of Burma's schools and universities-
 "Open Our School, Enlighten Our Future". The campaign  is 
coordinated by The Campaign Committee for Open School with the 
assistance of the Norwegian human  rights organization Worldview 

Please submit updated newspaper articles and reports about the state 
of Burma's educational system,  suggestions for campaign topics, 
events that should be covered etc. The list is moderated and 
maintained  by Worldview Rights.

Ronny Hansen
Project Manager 
Worldview Rights
Oslo, Norway
Tel: + 47 22 98 90 02
                92 80 86 07
Fax: +47 22 11 49 88



The BurmaNet News is an Internet newspaper providing comprehensive 
coverage of news and opinion on Burma  (Myanmar) from around the 
world.  If you see something on Burma, you can bring it to our 
attention by emailing it to strider@xxxxxxx

For a subscription to Burma's only free daily newspaper, write to: 

You can also contact BurmaNet by phone or fax:

Voice mail or fax (US) +1(202) 318-1261
You will be prompted to press 1 for a voice message or 2 to send a 
fax.  If you do neither, a fax tone will begin automatically.

Fax (Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143

On Editorial Policy

BurmaNet's editorial policy is weighted most heavily towards 
carrying news articles and secondarily to opinion/editorial pieces 
from publications capable of influencing public opinion or policy.  
BurmaNet generally will decline to carry individual opinion pieces 
but encourages news articles.

Except for articles authored by BurmaNet, the most important criteria 
inclusion in BurmaNet is the editor's judgement that an item is 
significant?not necessarily that it is true.  BurmaNet's goal is to 
bring a broad range of coverage to subscribers so that you can make 
such judgements for yourselves.


Never lose a file again. Protect yourself from accidental deletes,
overwrites, and viruses with @Backup. 
Try @Backup it's easy, it's safe, and it's FREE! 
Click here to receive 300 MyPoints just for trying @Backup.

To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: