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BurmaNet News: October 16, 2000

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
_________October 16, 2000   Issue # 1641__________

*AFP: Torture widespread and systematic in Myanmar: UN 
*Shan Herald Agency for News: Drills Across Thai border 
*AFP: Myanmar junta tells UNHCR chief exiles in Thailand rebels not 
*AP: Myanmar says events at home `trivial,' not fit for U.N. agenda 
*AFP: Myanmar denies closing several universities 
*AFP: Myanmar opposition faces legal action if it fails to vacate HQ 
*DVB : Test of Chinese-built radar station in South 

*Reuters: Vietnam minister in Myanmar amid mediation debate
*AP: Myanmar rebels cremated nine months after police killed them 
*Bangkok Post: New Aspiration, Thai Rak Thai foster Rangoon ties
*Burma Courier: Exile Government to Champion Federalist Cause

*Burma Courier: Drivers Laughing All the Way to the Petrol Pumps			
*Bangkok Post: Editorial - Friends don't let friends do harm

The BurmaNet News is viewable online at:

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AFP: Torture widespread and systematic in Myanmar: UN 

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16 (AFP) - Torture of political detainees and ethnic 
minorities is widespread and systematic in Myanmar, according to a UN 
human rights report released on Monday. 

 The special rapporteur, Rajsoomer Lallah, said murder, rape, torture 
and forcible relocation of ethnic tribsespeople were part of the 
government's counter-insurgency strategy in areas bordering on Thailand. 

 Lallah said he had still not been allowed into Myanmar, but he noted 
the visit last week by the UN's special envoy, Razali Ismail, and said 
he hoped the government would cooperate with him. 

 Razali had his first meeting with the head of the military junta, Than 
Shwe, during a four-day stay in Myanmar. He also met twice with Aung San 
Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). 

 The visit was welcomed as "positive and a move in the right direction" 
by Khun Tun Oo, chairman of the ethnic Shan National League for 

 Lallah said he had "received a number of convergent credible reports of 
a series of massacres in Kunhing township (Shan state) in which over 100 
Shah and hill tribespeople were killed in the months of January, 
February and May of 2000." 

 The killings were carried out by government infantry battalions 
identified by the numbers 66 and 246, he said. 

 Lallah also said he had "received detailed information concerning the 
case of Ko Thein Lwin," a member of the NLD youth wing, who was tortured 
for 15 days after his arrest on September 6, 1999. 

 Lallah documented several cases of arbitrary detention, some of whom 
had been subjected to torture. 

 They included U Kaythara, jailed for seven years in August 1996 for 
displaying a poster calling for political talks between the junta and 
the NLD, and U Than Chaun, jailed for two years in January 2000, for 
"allegedly tuning his radio a Voice of America programme," Lallah said. 

 Other detainees included journalist Daw San San Nwe, sentenced to 10 
years in jail for passing information to foreign reporters. 

 "Torture or other forms of inhuman treatment of political detainees are 
believed to be routine, especially during initial interrogation," Lallah 


AFP: Myanmar junta tells UNHCR chief exiles in Thailand rebels not 

YANGON, Oct 16 (AFP) - The Yangon junta Monday told the United Nations 
High Commissioner for Refugees chief that it considers citizens who have 
fled to Thailand rebels and not refugees, official sources said. 

 In a meeting today with UNHCR head Sadako Ogata, intelligence chief 
Khin Nyunt said that more than 100,000 people who have crossed the 
border into Thailand are rebels or relatives of rebels, and not 
displaced citizens, the sources said. 

 The camps in Thailand for the Myanmar exiles, most of whom have fled 
fighting between the junta and ethnic minority militias, are housing 
rebels' families, they said. 

 Khin Nyunt's line suggested that the junta might not be receptive to 
Thailand's desire to repatriate the exiles, many of whom have been in 
the camps for over a decade. 

 While Thailand has provided shelter for the migrants, it has appealed 
for the UNHCR to help it convince Myanmar to take back the refugees. 

 "The refugee situation is a problem which must be urgently solved," 
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai said earlier this year on a visit to one of 
the largest camps. 

 Thailand has on several occasions accused Myanmar of slowing progress 
towards repatriation. 

 The UNHCR head Monday also met junta head Than Shwe and Minister for 
Immigration Saw Tun, with whom she discussed Myanmar illegal immigrants 
working in Thailand, the sources said. 

 The junta also reportedly briefly discussed the issue of Myanmar 
refugees in Bangladesh with Ogata, but the sources refused to provide 
details on this conversation. 

 Roughly 20,000 Muslim refugees from Myanmar's northwestern state of 
Arakan are living in two frontier camps in Bangladesh's southeastern 
Cox's Bazar district, waiting to return to Myanmar. 

 The repatriation procession has been suspended since the last group of 
36 refugees were sent back on May 31, under a Dhaka-Yangon agreement 
backed by the UN. 

 Some of the refugees in Bangladesh reportedly do not want to return to 
Myanmar because they fear they will be persecuted for trying to leave. 

 Ogata will visit Thailand between October 17 and 18, where she will 
meet the prime minister and foreign diplomats before travelling to a 
refugee camp near the Thai-Myanmar border. 


Shan Herald Agency for News: Drills Across Thai border 

16 October 2000

Joint military drills between Rangoon and Wa forces has been going on 
for more than a week now, said a Thai Burma-watcher.  

The exercises, second in a series of maneuvers that began in August in 
the Teneserim coastal region, were participated by Infantry Battalions 
330 and 227, among others, and the United Wa State Army's Independent 
Regiment commanded by Wei Hsaitang at Loi Sarmsoom (NC. 2769) in 
Monghsat Township, opposite Chaiprakarn District of Chiangmai Province.  

The drills began on 5 October and due to last until 18 October. The 
official opening of the drills on 12 October was presided over by Lt-Gen 
Khin Nyunt himself, said the source.  

The Chinese were also reported to be seen as observers and as weapons 

Another Thai source commented: "This may be Burma's answer to reports of 
Thai-American maneuvers in the north during the coming dry season."  


AP: Myanmar says events at home `trivial,' not fit for U.N. agenda 

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ A government newspaper Monday criticized U.S. 
moves to get the United Nations to discuss the restrictions on Aung San 
Suu Kyi, saying it is a ``trivial'' matter that's being blown out of 

 The United Nations could instead be discussing other weightier matters 
``that could affect peace and stability of the region and the world,'' 
said a commentary in the Myanma Alin, a mouthpiece of the military 
 ``Events in Mynamar are trivial internal affairs,'' it said. 

 The article was referring to news reports that the U.S. government is 
trying to raise Myanmar's political problems in the Security Council, 
especially the forcible eviction of democracy leader Suu Kyi from the 
Yangon railway station on Sept. 22 and her virtual house arrest since 

 All other top leaders of her National League for Democracy party have 
also been confined indoors. 

 ``It is a shame that arrangements are being made to put up such a 
trivial matter to the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council,'' 
the article said. 

 The United States has also expressed concern at the lack of information 
about the whereabouts of some 100 Suu Kyi supporters who were evicted 
along with her from the station. It was the second time in a month that 
Suu Kyi was barred from traveling to the countryside for party work. 
 Suu Kyi and the NLD have been at loggerheads with the junta since 1988, 
the year the military crushed a pro-democracy uprising. The junta 
refuses to honor the results of the 1990 elections, which the NLD won 

 The government describes Suu Kyi as a Western stooge and had kept her 
under formal house arrest from 1989 to 1995. It refuses to hold talks 
with her and accuses the NLD of working against national interests. 

 Justifying its description of the restriction as trivial, the Myanma 
Alin article said no ``severe action'' has been taken by the government 
against the NLD, which could have easily been ``eliminated from the 
Myanmar soil'' under existing laws. 

 ``Myanmar is a sovereign nation and has the right to tackle its own 
internal affairs,'' it said. 

 Last week, a special U.N. envoy to Myanmar, Razali Ismail of Malaysia, 
met with Suu Kyi and Myanmar's top officials in a bid to bring the two 
sides together. The outcome of the meetings have not been disclosed. 
 Previous attempts by Razali and other U.N. envoys have not been 
successful. ^aaw/vj< 
2000-10-16 Mon 01:05 


AFP: Myanmar denies closing several universities 

YANGON, Oct 16 (AFP) - Myanmar on Monday denied closing several 
universities in the capital Yangon, official sources said. 

 The government denied shutting Dagon university and teacher training 
colleges, saying "certain universities and institutes are having 
semester examinations," a government spokesman said.
 "During the course of these examinations certain universities and 
institutes where the examinations are taking place are given private 
study period," essentially a temporary suspension for the exams, he 

 Opposition radio previously reported that the government had 
temporarily shut the Dagon schools after finding anti-regime wall 
 Myanmar's universities reopened last July, after being sporadically 
closed since a popular uprising in the summer of 1988 threatened to 
topple the military regime. 

 The junta imposed strict restrictions on universities in the wake of a 
student revolt in December 1996, formally suspending classes for all 
second and third-year students. 


AFP: Myanmar opposition faces legal action if it fails to vacate HQ 

YANGON, Oct 16 (AFP) - Myanmar's opposition party, led by Nobel Peace 
Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has been asked to vacate its 
headquarters here by October 25 or face legal action, a party source 
said Monday. 

 The National League for Democracy (NLD) party received the eviction 
order from the building's owner, Daw Nu, on September 25, a junior party 
member told AFP. 

 But the party member said he had not been able to pass the letter onto 
NLD chairman Aung Shwe or Aung San Suu Kyi because they and other senior 
party members remain under de facto house arrest. 

 "With no specific instructions from our leaders we can do nothing and 
when October 25 comes around we'll just have to stay put," the junior 
party member said. 

 "We are humble caretakers looking after the premises in the absence of 
our leaders and have no authority to make any decision," he said. 

 The restrictions on the NLD senior members were imposed on September 22 
after Aung San Suu Kyi attempted to travel by train to the northern town 
of Mandalay in defiance of the junta's ban on travelling outside the 

 The letter, shown to AFP, requires the NLD to remove all party property 
and its party sign by the eviction date or face legal action.
 Landlady Daw Nu said it was a family decision made "without any outside 
threat or coercion" because of failing health and other personal and 
financial reasons.
 But she added in the letter that the NLD's presence had caused a lot of 
inconvenience to the general public who have had to face roadblocks and 
other disturbances as a result of party activities. 

 The NLD had been given use of the property until the end of 2000 under 
a "gentleman's agreement" by Daw Nu's now deceased husband Tun Kyaing, 
the letter said. 

 Last May Daw Nu and her younger sister Daw Chaw were detained for 
several days for failing to stop the NLD from using loudspeakers during 
a party meeting. 
 The NLD won a landslide victory in 1990 elections which were 
subsequently annulled by the junta. 


DVB : test of Chinese-built radar station in South 

Burma: Opposition radio reports test of Chinese-built radar station in 

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 15th October 

It has been learned that the new SPDC [State Peace and Development 
Council] naval station built near Zadetgyi Kyun in the south of Burma 
near Kawthaung has been completed. DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] 
correspondent Myint Maung Maung filed this report.

[Myint Maung Maung] Practical test on radar surveillance of southern 
Burmese territorial waters was jointly carried out by Burmese and 
Chinese experts on 8th-13th October at the newly-built radar station at 
58th naval station in Zadetgyi Kyun. Tests were carried out in the area 
south of Mergui to the sea off Kawthaung. They tested 24 hours 
communication between naval vessels and the formation of a surface radar 
network involving naval vessels in the Burmese waters and the radar 
station. The advanced radar equipment utilized at the 58th naval radar 
station are the GPS and GIS satellite positioning systems. Furthermore, 
another three large naval vessels arrived at the radar station on 7th 
October to boost its strength while two army companies landed on 9th 
October and one armoured company came on 10th October. All coastal 
passenger vessels were only allowed to use the shallow coastal waters 
during the radar testing and reinforcing of troops. No maritime vessel 
was allowed to use the offshore deep sea routes during that period. 
Ocean-going freighters going to Rangoon through the Tenasserim offshore 
were made to wait at Singapore port.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Reuters: Vietnam minister in Myanmar amid mediation debate

HANOI, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Vietnam's foreign minister began an official 
visit to Myanmar on Monday as Southeast Asian nations wrestled over 
divisions on how to deal with the political deadlock in Yangon. 

 Hanoi's Foreign Ministry said Nguyen Dy Nien's visit would last two 
days but gave no details of his agenda. 

 Vietnam is the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian 

 The trip was clearly hastily planned as Nien had been scheduled to 
speak at a Vietnam-European Union seminar on trade on Monday in Hanoi 
but cancelled at the last minute. 

 Members of ASEAN are split over whether to mediate in Myanmar, where 
the military government has held Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi 
and other leaders of her opposition National League for Democracy under 
house arrest for weeks.
 ASEAN agreed in July in Bangkok to form a ``troika'' of three members 
to try to help resolve political and security disputes, but its 
Secretary-General Rodolfo Severino told Reuters in Hanoi last week there 
was ``no question of mediation'' in this case. 

 This was despite a report in a Bangkok newspaper last month quoting 
diplomats as saying U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan had suggested the 
troika help in Myanmar. 	

 Communist Vietnam said earlier this month ``relevant'' ASEAN members 
had rejected the idea on the grounds it would be interference in 
Yangon's internal affairs, a long-held ASEAN taboo. 

 But ministers responsible for information from all 10 ASEAN countries 
remained silent at a news briefing after a conference in Hanoi last week 
when asked whether they were united in a policy not to mediate. 

 Supatra Masdit, a minister in the Thai prime minister's office, told 
Reuters seperately she supported mediation and this should be discussed 
at Foreign Ministry level. 

 Concerns have been raised that the Myanmar issue could derail a 
long-delayed meeting of ASEAN-EU foreign ministers Laos is due to host 
in December. Laos has said the meeting would not be affected. 

 ASEAN groups Myanmar with Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, 
Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei. 



AP: Myanmar rebels cremated nine months after police killed them 

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Thai authorities are conducting funerals for 10 
Myanmar rebels who were killed by security forces in January during a 
raid to free a hospital they had taken over, an official said Monday. 

 About 40 people, mostly Thai police, provincial officers and charity 
workers attended a Buddhist funeral ceremony Sunday for one of the 
militants at a temple in Ratchaburi town, not far from the hospital 
where they had held 800 patients, visitors and staff hostage for 22 

 Police Col. Sakchai Tanboon-ek said the bodies would be cremated one 
body per day. A tenth rebel, believed to have been Muslim, has been 

 Authorities had kept the bodies in storage in a temple in Ratchaburi 
until now to give relatives time to claim them. But no one showed up and 
monks and a charity group urged police to conduct the funerals, said 

 In Buddhist funerals, bodies are often stored for 100 days or longer 
before cremation. 

 ``We held the ceremony to show our respect to the dead,'' Sakchai said. 

 ``But we will need to keep the ashes in case their relatives show up,'' 
said Sakchai, the superintendent of Ratchaburi town police station. The 
town is 95 kilometers (59 miles) west of Bangkok. 

 The 10 rebels belonged to two dissident Myanmar groups operating along 
the Thai-Myanmar border: the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors and the 
God's Army, a fringe rebel group of ethnic Karen minority, led by twin 
12-year-old boys believed by their followers to have magical powers. 

 They had stormed the Ratchaburi provincial hospital on Jan. 23, 
demanding Thailand grant refuge to Karen civilians living in rebel 

 They said the civilians were not only under attack from Myanmar 
government forces but were also being shelled by Thai military to stop 
them from trying to escape to Thailand. 

 After a 22-hour standoff, Thai commandos stormed the hospital and 
killed the hostage-takers in circumstances never properly explained by 
Thai authorities. Some reports said some of the rebels had been shot 
after surrendering. 

 The twin leaders of God's Army did not take part in the siege and are 
still thought to be alive, living along the Thai-Myanmar border. 

 The God's Army is made up of Christians from the Karen community, but 
Thai police claimed that the hostage-takers were Buddhists. 

 The tough Thai response to the hospital siege followed criticism of 
Thailand's handling of another hostage crisis a few months before, when 
five rebels from the Student Warriors group laid siege to the Myanmar 
Embassy in Bangkok. 

 On that occasion, the rebels were granted safe access to the 
Thai-Myanmar border in return for releasing all their hostages unharmed, 
prompting a furious reaction from the Myanmar military regime which 
closed its border with Thailand for two months in retaliation. 


Bangkok Post: New Aspiration, Thai Rak Thai foster Rangoon ties

 October 16, 2000 

Wassana Nanuam

Two political parties will send their representatives to Burma in what 
is seen as a political campaign to strengthen ties with Rangoon if their 
parties win the next general election. 
Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh's New Aspiration Party and Thaksin 
Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai Party have started their foreign relations 
campaign with Burma, said sources. 

Gen Sanan Khachornklam, a NAP co-ordinator, said the foreign affairs 
committee of the New Aspiration Party led by deputy leader Likhit 
Dhiravegin will lead a delegation of 45 academics and leading party 
members to Burma during October 23-25. 

During the three-day visit, the panel will meet Burmese Prime Minister 
Gen Than Shwe, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, secretary 1 of the State Peace and 
Development Council and other top military figures, said Gen Sanan, a 
former Defence Ministry spokesman. 

Gen Sanan said it is a good sign for the country that some major 
political parties have given more special emphasis on the relationship 
with neighbouring countries. 
Sources said Gen Sanan has been approached by the New Aspiration Party 
to be its co-ordinator for Thai-Burmese affairs. 

Meanwhile, Thai Rak Thai plans to send former army chief Gen Chettha 
Thanajaro to Burma. 
Gen Chettha is known to have close ties with many leading Burmese 
figures, particularly Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, said sources. However, the date 
for the visit has yet to be scheduled.  
Gen Chettha played a leading role in negotiating with Burmese 
authorities for construction of a road from Kanchanaburi to Tavoy in 
Burma, said sources. 

The planned visits by the two leading political parties come amid a 
soured relationship between Thailand and Burma. 

The army has invited Burma's army chief to attend the Asean army chiefs 
summit in Hua Hin in November. 

The submit is aimed at forging closer ties between Asean country armies. 
Burma did not attend previous summits. This year, Vietnam has accepted 
but Burma has not yet replied. 


Burma Courier: Exile Government to Champion Federalist Cause

No. 240                Oct 8 - 14, 2000

Based on news from MIZZIMA and MIS and NCGUB releases:  Oct 12, 2000 

DUBLIN -- Meeting in full session for the first time in more than two 
years, exiled members of Burma's never convened Parliament last week 
re-affirmed their confidence in steps being taken inside the country by 
the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political parties "to 
establish a multi-party parliamentary democracy" and a "genuine federal 
union" in their homeland. 
The MPs also re-elected Prime Minister Sein Win to another term in 
office as head of the   National Coalition Government of the Union of 
Burma (NCGUB) and took steps to incorporate themelves as a Parliamentary 
Union.  Although more than thirty of Burma's elected MPs are currently 
in exile, only twenty one managed to make it to the meeting. 

The parliamentarians strongly affirmed their support for the efforts 
being taken by their colleagues inside Burma to "draft a federal 
constitution".  The move by the Committee Representing the People's 
Parliament (CRPP), a group spearheaded by the NLD, has recently stirred 
the wrath of the military government whose "do-nothing" National 
Convention Convening Commission has been meeting for years with little 
to show for its efforts. 

The MPs also voiced their appreciation to the Government and Congress of 
the United States "for championing Burma's cause for democracy".  This 
week, in an extraordinary measure, the U.S. House of Representatives 
joined the Senate in passing a resolution calling on the U.S. government 
to formulate policies that will "strongly support the restoration of 
democracy in Burma, including implementation of the results of the free 
and fair elections of 1990".   

Support for Burma's elected MPs and the Committee Representing the 
People's Parliament among parliamentarians is gaining momentum around 
the world.  Up till now almost 1900 signatures have been affixed to the 
solidarity statement that began to circulate during the meeting of the 
Interparliamentary Union in Amman, Jordan this past May.  So far, Italy 
is leading the way with 211 MPs signed on.  But Norway (136), Ireland 
(155) and Germany (130) are showing strong support as well.   Tiny San 
Marino has 34 parliamentarians who stand with their hard-pressed 
colleagues in Burma.   

In a gesture aimed at broadening its own base of support among Burma 
exiles, the NCGUB announced that it would invite representatives from 
ethnic and democracy organizations as well as women's and youth groups 
to join the standing committees of its ministries.    

Among those named to the revamped NCGUB Cabinet were Khun Manko Ban, MP 
for Pekhon, to the post of Federal Affairs Minister, and U Thein Oo to 
the Human Rights Ministry.  Both are based in Thailand where Dr Sann 
Aung has been named to head the PM's office in Bangkok.  The recently 
exiled MP for Ingapu, U Mya Win, will be in charge of the PM's New Delhi 
office, which is also the operating base for Dr Tint Swe who will double 
as Education and Health Minister.  U Maung Maung Aye, the globe-trotting 
liaison with the international labour movement, will take on 
responsibilities for Information and Public Relations.  Long-time 
cabinet members U Bo Hla-Tint and U Tha Noe were also re-appointed to 
serve as Ministers without Portfolio.   
Apparently not present at the Dublin meetings was Nai Thaung Shein, MP 
for Kawkareik, of the Mon National Democratic Front. Thaung Shein, who 
narrowly escaped imprisonment in 1998, spoke last Saturday to a 
convention of Mon youth in Bangkok where he regretted the fact that he 
heard so little Mon being spoken.  He told the young people that one of 
the principal reasons his party was linked with other democratic parties 
in Burma was to build a federal union in which the Mon people could 
freely and fully enjoy their rights to practice their culture and 
literature and pursue their political rights.  Three of Nai Thaung 
Shein's MNDF colleagues Nai Ngwe Thein, Dr. Min Kyi Win and Dr. Min Soe 
Lin are serving long terms in Moulamyaing prison for indicating their 
support for the Committee Representing the People's Parliament.  

_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

Burma Courier: Drivers Laughing All the Way to the Petrol Pumps 

Based on articles in the Myanmar Times BKK Post & Courier files:  
updated to Oct 14,  

RANGOON -- Judging from prices last week at filling stations operated by 
state-owned Myanma Petroleum Products Enterprise (MPPE), the current 
crisis in international oil prices has left one of the world's poorest 
countries virtually unscathed. 

An informal survey conducted in Rangoon by the Myanmar Times showed that 
prices at the pumps at MPPE stations were just 180 kyats per gallon for 
gasoline and 160 kyats per gallon for diesel.  At current exchange 
rates, that works out to the equivalent of approximately US$ 0.10 cents 
a litre for gasoline and less than US$ 0.09 cents a litre for diesel. 

Compared with charges in Thailand where folks have been paying 41 cents 
per litre and in Singapore where drivers are dishing out 82 cents per 
litre and in Hong Kong where the bowser price is US$ 1.38 per litre for 
gasoline, Rangoon pump prices are eyepoppingly cheap.   Even at 41 cents 
Thailand's PTT says it loses money at current world oil prices and on 
Friday prices were raised by 30 satang a litre (a little less than a 
cent).  Thai news stories said that even this tiny hike in prices had 
sparked inflation fears, as the baht dropped even further relative to 
the U.S. dollar.  The thought cannot be far from the minds of the 
generals on Signal Pagoda Road.  

Private resellers, not quite as generous as the MPPE station operators, 
have already raised their prices about 30 per cent to 300-400 kyats ($US 
0.75 - 1.00) per gallon for gasoline and to about 500 kyats ($US 1.25) 
per gallon for diesel.  Highway bus services, consulted by the Rangoon 
weekly were adopting a wait-and-see approach.  "But if the prices of 
gasoline and diesel continue to rise, we will have to raise our fares as 
well," the manager of one transport agency told MTBR. 

A private oil industry executive consulted by MTBR attributed the 
military government's generosity at the pumps to the bonanza created 
when Thailand paid up its outstanding debt of $US 283 million last July 
for gas piped across the border from the offshore Yadana field in 
Burmese waters. ."In a macro economic sense the energy export paid for 
the energy import," said Focus Energy's Maurie Drew.  Burma must import 
up to 25,000 barrels of oil a day to meet its energy needs. 

There is also the promise of goodies yet to come, as the offshore 
Yetagun field, operated by Britain's Premier Oil, begins to send 200 
million cubic ft of natural gas across the Thai-Burma border on a daily 
basis.  The same field has the potential to produce between 5-6,000 
barrels a day of natural gas condensate.  In July, Japan's Mitsubishi 
Corp announced plans to invest US $70 million to build a floating 
storage offloading facility for the condensate.  Mitsubishi will also 
market the condensate which is used as feedstock in petrochemical 
plants.  At the time of the announcement, Mitsubishi said it was already 
in talks with producers to buy about 40 percent of Yetagun's condensate 
output.  Gas condensate commands even better prices than crude.  The FSO 
should be ready by year's end. 


Bangkok Post: Editorial - Friends don't let friends do harm

Oct 15, 2000.

There is always a slight, transient advantage to holding a 
well-organised conference against drugs. The issue deserves to be kept 
at the forefront, deserves constant discussion and consideration. The 
media, including this newspaper, publicise the battle against the drug 
traffickers. They describe the successes and, more often lately, the 

In the past couple of years, Thailand and neighbours have been badly 
hurt by a conspiracy of criminals, the like of which we never have seen 
before. The rapid and crippling rise of the pill pushers has threatened 
our country like few previous invasions. Last week's conference 
methodically outlined the causes and effects of this insidious 
intrusion. In the sense that people became more aware of the problem and 
dangers, last week's conference was modestly successful. 

Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai opened the discussion among 34 nations and 
the United Nations International Drug Control Programme. His keynote set 
the tone. Thailand in particular, and the region in general face a 
serious problem from massive smuggling and sales of stimulants. 
Methamphetamines and similar pills have drugged far too many of our 
people and children. They have corrupted large segments of the country. 

There are two steps that can be taken to help to defeat this threat to 
our very national security. The first is to identify the major players 
who make, smuggle, sell and protect the drug dealers. The second is to 
pursue them across the national borders they use to protect themselves. 
Neither Thailand nor our friends have taken firm enough steps on either 
of these necessary issues. Last week, however, there was modest progress 
on both. 

Burma sent a senior intelligence officer to the conference. Col Kyaw 
Thein heads the Office of Strategic Studies for the military 
dictatorship. He repeated the old refrains. Burma is not responsible for 
drug smuggling. Burma does not make the chemicals or machines necessary 
to manufacture methamphetamines, so it can't be Burma that is culpable. 
Burma can't patrol all the vast regions of the nation. And finally, 
Burma has a master plan to eliminate drugs by 2014. Rangoon can't 
disclose the secret plan, and won't address the contradictions in Col 
Kyaw Thein's claims. 

China, on the other hand, has been taking drugs seriously for some time 
now. Beijing is concerned at the effects drugs have had. They include an 
Aids epidemic in the south, near the Burmese border. Just last month, as 
concerned as Thailand, China began a nationwide campaign against 

The Chinese delegate, Liu Jieyi of the foreign minstry, announced that 
Beijing will be taking trans-national crime and corruption to this 
week's Asia-Europe Meeting, known as Asem. In Seoul, 25 heads of 
government from Europe and Asia will discuss further co-operation-and 
funding-on fighting international criminals. 
There remains, however, a missing link in these welcome Chinese 
proposal. China correctly wants to fight international crime. But it 
proposes no way to identify or to punish those responsible. China is the 
closest thing to a friend that Burma has. China has helped Rangoon in 
various ways, both diplomatic and economic. It is time for Beijing to 
show that friendship works both ways. 

Friends don't let friends deal drugs. The Burmese regime is badly 
tainted and closely identified with heroin and methamphetamine dealers, 
smugglers and traffickers. The head of the ruling military dictatorship, 
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, has publicly embraced the region's drug kingpin and 
head of the United Wa State Army, Wei Hsueh-kang. China considers its 
battle against drugs a critical issue. It should intervene with Burma, 
forcefully, and convince Rangoon to move away from the drug dealers. 
China will do itself much good, and greatly help the cause of battling 
trans-national crime. 



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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


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