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BurmaNet News: January 1, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: January 1, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2001 08:09:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
January 1, 2001 Issue # 1701
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
NOTED IN PASSING: [I]nternational organizations are all talk and no
action. Only the SPDC troops are frequently staging cross-border raids
Sai Tun, spokesman for the Shan States Army on the prospect of cross
border attacks by the international community against drug producers in
Burma. See DVB: Burma: Shan State Army spokesman on anti-drug
activities at Thai border
INSIDE BURMA _______
*AP: Suu Kyi spends 100 days confined to her house
*DVB: Anti-money laundering bill facts remain unclear
*DVB: Burmese leaders pay flying visit to Kawthaung to discuss fishing
*DVB: Burma: Shan State Army spokesman on anti-drug activities at Thai
*DVB: Army deserters caused by officer abuse
*Shan Herald Agency for News: More on Nasaka
*Myanmar Information Committee: e-Education System Launched in Myanmar
*The Nation: Maintaining Thailand's Diplomatic Gains
*The Independent (Bangladesh): Jamaat slates killing of 25 Muslims in
*Xinhua: Chinese police seize over 200 kg of heroin at Yunnan-Burma
__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________
AP: Suu Kyi spends 100 days confined to her house
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
spent her 101st consecutive day under virtual house arrest as the New
Year began Monday, waiting for the military government to make good on a
promise to release her.
Suu Kyi was confined to her Yangon home on Sept. 22 after she defied
government restrictions on her movement and tried to travel by train to
the northern city of Mandalay to visit members of her embattled National
League for Democracy.
In all, nine NLD leaders were put under confinement, but six were
released Dec. 1. Party heavyweights NLD Chairman Aung Shwe and
Vice-Chairman Tin Oo remain detained and about 80 NLD supporters
arrested at the same time are believed held at Yangon's Insein Prison,
according to diplomats.
A Myanmar government spokesman contacted in Yangon would give no clues
Monday about when Suu Kyi would be freed, saying he ``would not like to
speculate on this issue at this stage.''
On Dec. 12, Myanmar Foreign Minister Win Aung told a meeting of
European and Southeast Asian ministers in Laos that Suu Kyi would be
released at ``an appropriate time'' but did not give a date.
That vague promise was seen as a concession to European critics of the
junta's human rights record, who had swallowed their pride and agreed to
end a three-year boycott of the inter-regional dialogue and sit at a
table with top Myanmar officials.
Myanmar's military, which kept Suu Kyi under formal house arrest from
1989 to 1995, refused to hand over power to the NLD after it
overwhelmingly won a general election in 1990. Since the polls, it has
harassed and arrested hundreds of NLD members, although it remains a
legally registered political party.
One window of opportunity for the junta to ease restrictions on Suu Kyi
could be a visit starting Friday by U.N. special envoy to Myanmar Razali
Ismail, who is charged with the difficult task of brokering a political
dialogue between the Myanmar government and the NLD.
Yangon-based diplomats suggest Suu Kyi could be released after Razali's
five-day visit because it would give an impression the move would be due
to the U.N. envoy's mediation, rather than pressure from Europe.
Razali, a former Malaysian diplomat, was able to meet with Suu Kyi
twice at her house during a visit in October. He is the only diplomat to
have had contact with Suu Kyi since her confinement began.
An Asian diplomat in Yangon said Razali had sought in October to secure
Suu Kyi's release but a sticking point was the NLD leader's insistence
that she will keep trying to travel outside the capital, which she views
as her right.
In recent years, Suu Kyi has repeatedly tried to visit the provinces of
Myanmar and been blocked every time.
The government accuses her of deliberately provoking confrontations
with the authorities but the tactic has won her worldwide sympathy and
helped keep the international spotlight on her democracy struggle, even
as the NLD suffers official persecution and forced resignations of party
DVB: Anti-money laundering bill facts remain unclear
Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 28 Dec 00
It has been learned that Burma is drafting an anti-money laundering law
to control illegally-earned money and property. DVB Democratic Voice of
Burma correspondent Htet Aung Kyaw filed this report.
Begin Htet Aung Kyaw recording The decision was made during a Central
Committee for Drug Abuse Control meeting chaired by Deputy Home Minister
Brig-Gen Thura Myint Maung. According to them, Burma will be able to
take action within the country against transnational crimes and people
connected with drugs. But it is still unclear about the time frame for
the completion of this bill and whether this law can be applied to take
action against the wealth and property of the drug tsars including drug
barons Khun Sa and Lo Hsing Han, who have surrendered to the SPDC State
Peace and Development Council .
According to reports received today 28 December , one SPDC police
colonel is planning to get the law passed as soon as possible and
cooperate with other ASEAN nations. Most Burmese observers have pointed
out that the SPDC's anti-money laundering law is meant to show the
international community but in reality it would be quite impossible to
control the drug tsars. Burma's big companies - Asia Wealth Bank is
owned by Lo Hsing Han, Mayflower Bank is owned by Kokang Chinese U Kyaw
Win, and Kanbawza Bank is owned by UWSA United Wa State Army supported
Saya Kyaung alias U Aung Ko Win. The SPDC neither have the nerve to
check their financial transactions nor the ability to control the
business entrepreneurs who are former drug tsars. Only a day after the
meeting, which was Christmas day, Chinese Kokang drug traffickers from
Mayflower Bank were seen going about freely and enjoying themselves at
one Bangkok Christmas function. End of recording
DVB: Burmese leaders pay flying visit to Kawthaung to discuss fishing
Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 28 Dec 00
It has been learned that Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt secretary-1 of the State
Peace and Development Council, SPDC and party came on a lightning trip
to Kawthaung in Tenasserim Division on 25 December. DVB Democratic Voice
of Burma correspondent Myint Maung Maung filed this report.
Begin Myint Maung Maung recording Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt was accompanied by
Navy Commander in Chief Rear Adm Kyi Min, Foreign Minister U Win Aung,
and ministers. Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt arrived unexpectedly at 0930 all times
local and departed suddenly at 1700. Local people believed his trip
might be connected with the SPDC naval gunboats' shooting of two Thai
fishing vessels in Thai territorial waters on 19 December. But at the
meeting with military officials and departmental personnel at the
Kawthaung Battalion Meeting Hall, he discussed Kawthaung's development
activities. The main topic of discussion was fisheries and he said fish
caught in Myanmar Burmese waters must be sold in Myanmar Burma and
permission will not be given to sell the fish in the other country. But
Thai fisheries entrepreneurs are still hoping to get back their fishing
concessions which were revoked since 2 October 1999. End of recording
DVB: Burma: Shan State Army spokesman on anti-drug activities at Thai
Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 27 Dec 00
The southern Shan State Army, SSA, which has been engaging in
anti-narcotic drugs activities, is in need of international assistance
said its leader Col Yawdserk. Because of its anti-drug stance the SSA is
abhorred by the UWSA United Wa State Army Wa armed group and the SPDC
State Peace and Development Council troops. Col Yawdserk also said if
international assistance is not received in time the SSA has no choice
but probably join hands with the SPDC. DVB Democratic Voice of Burma
correspondent Htet Aung Kyaw interviewed SSA spokesman U Sai Tun
regarding these matters.
Begin recording U Sai Tun We started engaging in anti-drugs activities
in 1998. We always show the regional and international community what we
are doing and how much we have destroyed and we also ask for
international assistance. Assistance means to join hands with us in the
fight against the drugs. But we did not see any significant regional and
international support and pressure. Finally, our anti-drugs actions have
affected the border drug trafficking trade. So the SPDC and the Wa
troops, the basis of these activities, turned towards our group. Even
Khin Nyunt SPDC secretary-1 came and inspected our area and urged the
total annihilation of the SSA.
Htet Aung Kyaw That was the confirmation given by SSA Spokesman U Sai
Tun. I continued to ask him about the situation of the recently arrived
UWSA troops and the possibility of future battles.
U Sai Tun As far as I know, according to the latest situation at the end
November five UWSA battalions arrived at (Mong Taw-Mong Har) to settle
there. Well, five battalions mean their overall strength is over 1,000.
On 16 December Eastern Military Command Commander Maj-Gen Maung Bo came
to Ho Mong, the former headquarters of Khun Sa's MTA Mong Tai Army , and
held talks with one of the Wa leaders Wei Shaung Yi, brother of Wei
Shaung Pan. We have learned that at the talks Commander Maung Bo
pressured the UWSA to annihilate the SSA camps.
Htet Aung Kyaw At the moment all groups connected with drug activities
along the border including the UWSA and the SPDC troops despised the
SSA. U Sai Tun went on to say all their efforts are in vain when the
SSA's activities done in good faith for the good of entire mankind are
not recognized and appreciated by international organizations.
U Sai Tun At this juncture we would be quite satisfied if we receive a
little appreciation. We do not want any assistance in the form of
weapons and other equipment. But instead of being appreciated we are
being loathed which is not what we want. We are doing it for the good of
everybody. To engage in anti-drug activities is an act despised by the
people of the border region overwhelmed by various drug groups. When we
first settled at the border and engaged in drugs it was the same thing.
Htet Aung Kyaw As a final question, when I ask about the possibility of
an international anti-drug force staging a cross-border raid inside
Burma, U Sai Tun said he did not expect anything like that because
international organizations are all talk and no action. Only the SPDC
troops are frequently staging cross-border raids into Thailand. End of
DVB: Army deserters caused by officer abuse
Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1245 gmt 27 Dec 00
Three SPDC State Peace and Development Council enlisted men from a
Taunggyi-based battalion deserted with weapons due to maltreatment by
officers. Pvt Banya Aung and enlisted Pvts Yin Htwe and Myo Naing from
the forward column of Taunggyi-based IB Infantry Battalion 294 deserted
with three G-3 automatic rifles, one BA-93 grenade launcher, and
ammunition on 20 December. Col Tin Win, the Mong Pan based tactical
commander, himself is leading the efforts and combing the vicinity to
recapture the deserters. Similarly, a private from IB 16 based in
northern Shan State's Mong Koe region deserted during December and a
search is being conducted.
The battalion officer must immediately inform the higher authority as
soon as desertion occurs. If the report is late, normally action is
taken against the officer in charge. Just as this was going on, an order
was issued to the forward recruitment company to enlist at least one
soldier a month. It has been learned that as many as 16 new recruits a
month have been enlisted in the armoured battalion. DVB Democratic Voice
of Burma correspondent Kyaw Zin Aung filed this report.
Shan Herald Agency for News: More on Nasaka
Jan. 1, 2000
The Nasaka (Border Control Unit) arrived in Tachilek on 8 December. On
19 December, a meeting was called to explain its mission to the local
"There is a need to prevent restricted commodities from going out and
coming in as Thailand is enjoying an upperhand over us, economically
speaking," a Nasaka officer (the source did not say who) explained.
"There are too many motor vehicles coming in without proper licences
and proper duties paid. We are here to plug the holes and to see that
the state earns its proper revenues".
He outlined the unit's five tasks which were: Prevention of prohibited
commodities from leaving the country, Prevention of prohibited
commodities from entering the country, Enhancement of revenue from
taxes, Raising the value of Kyat against other currencies and
Suppression of corruption among state officials.
He added that the unit would be under the direct control of Secretary
1(General Khin Nyunt), who would be represented locally by Lt.-Col. Thet
Htut (Kamaba) under whom the Work Inspection Battalion (Nasaya)
commanded by Maj. Zaw Lin would operate.
On the following day, five immigration and customs checkpoints under the
Tachilek district administration, namely: Friendship Bridge, Mark-yang,
Pakook, Loitawkham and Wan Poongkaen were turned over to the Nasaka,
said the source.
Lt.-Col. Thet Htut is known to be one of Gen. Khin Nyunt's trusted
lieutenants. (He attended the meeting between Military Intelligence
Service and the Shan State Peace Council in September, as reported
earlier by S.H.A.N.)
Myanmar Information Committee: e-Education System Launched in Myanmar
N0. B-1664 (I) 1st January, 2001
The Ministry of Education of the Government of the Union of Myanmar, in
cooperation with the Ministry of Information, has put Electronic Data
Broadcasting System into motion on 31 December, 2000.
The Ministry of Education is implementing the Special Four-Year Plan for
the Promotion of Education, which will run from 2000-2001 to 2003-2004
fiscal year. The objectives of the special four-year plan are to
promote the efficiency of basic education schools with the aim of
nurturing and turning out stalwart sons and daughters of the nation who
acquire well-rounded education, to generate teaching and learning
opportunities with the use of modern information technologies, to
further promote the quality of teachers, to seek ways and means to
enable every citizen to acquire basic education, and to bring about
education of international standard by facing challenges of Knowledge
Age and creating Learning Society.
The present time is the third four-month period covered by the
first-year period of the plan. In both the basic education sector and
the higher education sector, annual working programmes have been laid
down and implemented to reform curricula in order to ensure that the
level of national education is on a par with that of international
education, to extend the programme of teaching coordinated subjects, to
use the continuous assessment system in accord with the international
system, to launch Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education
programmes, to cooperate with international universities, to carry out
advanced research programmes, to put information technology into
practical use, to establish MOEnet, to introduce Electronic Data
Broadcasting System via satellite, to advance libraries and to establish
Open Education System. Multimedia teaching centres are being opened at
basic education schools. At universities, degree colleges and colleges,
IT Learning Centres, Electronic Resource Centres, Computer Training
Centres, Multimedia Resource Centres and Language Labs are being
opened, and modern methods and equipment provided. Multimedia
classrooms have been opened at universities, degree colleges and
colleges. The networked computer system has been set up and modern
information technology used.
The Ministry of Education has opened Electronic Learning Centres all
over the nation, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Information,
is building a new learning society with the use of Electronic Data
Broadcasting System. Altogether 203 learning centres have been opened
in all states and divisions covering from the northernmost township
Putao to the southern-most township Kawthoung and from the easternmost
township Tachilek to the western-most township Sittway--- 10in Kachin
State, 1 in Kayah State, 4 in Kayin State, 4 in Chin State, 17 in
Sagaing Division, 8 in Taninthayi Division, 12 in Bago Division (East),
12 in Bago Division (West), 15 in Magway Division, 27 in Mandalay
Division, 10 in Mon State, 6 in Rakhine State, 44 in Yangon Division, 7
in Shan State (South), 2 in Shan State (East), 5 in Shan State (North)
and 19 in Ayeyawady Division. Lectures, academic subjects and
technological subjects can be easily learnt through servers kept at
these learning centres through television and satellite. It is also
learnt that arrangements are being made to open learning centres in
every township next year. With the building and use of Electronic Data
The Nation: Maintaining Thailand's Diplomatic Gains
Monday, January 1, 2001
The most frequently asked question today is whether Thai foreign policy
will change direction with the incoming government. In the past, the
traditional answer would definitely be a yes. That has been the pattern
of the country's diplomatic history.
Foreign policy was easy to change then as it did not involve so many
vested interests or huge concessions. The post of foreign minister was
considered a leftover, away from the parties' bickering negotiations.
The least influential person in a given party would normally take up the
position. No political party would trade it for the interior or
communications or industry portfolios. Therefore, whoever arrived by
this path could sometimes abuse and butcher the country's foreign
That helped to explain why there was no continuity and sustainability in
Thai foreign policy.
Those days are gone. It is a different ballgame now. Diplomacy is a
topic major parties cannot ignore. Foreign policy is mentioned by major
parties at political rallies. They all want to master it and let their
views be heard. Party leaders do not look impressive if they cannot
discuss Burma, international trade or globalisation.
To gauge the country's future diplomacy, party platforms and comments
made by party leaders need to be scrutinised, particularly those of the
parties which are likely to become coalition partners. Out of 37
parties, only the Democrat, Thai Rak Thai, Chat Thai, New Aspiration and
Chat Pattana have come out with wide-ranging views on regional and
In general, all the parties share similar views on the need for Thailand
to improve its relations with its neighbours, promote cooperation with
international organisations and regional economic groupings, maintain
free trade and be a good and responsible citizen in the world community.
That much is clear.
Upon cross-examination, divergent views and approaches to regional and
international issues are highly visible. For instance, the Democrat
Party mentions human rights and democracy as elements of its foreign
policy outlook, while other parties such as Thai Rak Thai and Chat
Pattana do not. The Democrats are more assertive than the rest on this
issue, while Thai Rak Thai highlights its constructive diplomacy, which
respects non-interference in internal affairs.
Chat Pattana and News Aspiration are more creative when it comes to
untested policies. The former proposes the establishment of an Asian
Community linking South Asia and East Asia. The latter wants to see
Asian countries helping each other through elaborate economic schemes.
Both parties strongly advocate pan-Asia cooperation.
Recently, Seritham Party leader Prachuab Chayasarn, a former foreign
minister, announced that all border demarcation problems with Burma,
Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia should be completely settled within four
With two former senior foreign ministry officials joining the party,
Chat Thai has been showing off a lot about its knowledge of diplomacy.
Often, however, the views expressed are of a personal nature rather than
a serious party platform.
It is all boils down to the two rivals, Democrat and Thai Rak Thai,
which share more commonality than differences, especially on what
appears in writing. While the two see eye-to-eye on the need to improve
ties with neighbours through economic cooperation, they differ much on
how to achieve it.
Both parties identify relations with Burma and Laos as needing the most
attention. Previously, Vietnam and Cambodia were in the same category,
but their ties with Thailand have improved markedly under the Chuan
government. The recent conclusion of a Thai-Vietnam visa-free agreement
and exchange of intelligence demonstrates the growing mutual trust
between the two countries.
Obviously, policy towards Burma and Laos would be one of the areas most
affected by the election outcome. Whatever changes are made though, it
will not be so much in substance as in style. This will depend on the
future composition of the next government. If it is a Thai Rak Thai-led
government, its leaders are likely to visit Burma or Laos to promote
good neighbour policies. They will be more expedient with ties with both
countries. High-level personal contacts will be used as a means to
settle problems with neighbours as in the past, particularly through
Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai is the only Asean leader who has not
visited Burma officially during his three-year tenure, although he has
met with its leaders several times. He insists that Burma needs to be
more open and democratic. During the past three years, there has been
increased coordination among the government agencies which have dealings
with neighbouring countries. They are rallying behind the government and
in the case of Burma and Laos, the Foreign Ministry has taken the lead.
Repeated attempts by vested interests and conservative elements to
shatter this uniform approach have so far failed, including the Rangoon
junta's divide and rule tactics.
Another new influential factor supporting the current Thai foreign
policy is the role being played by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
It is no longer considered a rubber stamp. Its fiercely independent
chairman, Kraisak Choonhavan, and his liberal views have already made
their marks on the conduct of Thai diplomacy.
Finally, since 1997 non-governmental organisations and civil groups have
been quite active in foreign-policy making process, especially towards
Burma, Indonesia, East Timor and, to a lesser extent, Asean.
The involvement of the Senate's Foreign affairs Committee,
non-governmental organisations and civil society will intensify if the
incoming government seeks to make radical changes to the foundations of
Thai policy, which respects human rights and democratic principles.
Thailand has enjoyed a healthy and good international reputation,
because of its pro-active and outward looking policy.
A new government that diverges from this path will certainly encounter a
The Independent (Bangladesh): Jamaat slates killing of 25 Muslims in
Jan. 1, 2000
by Staff Reporter
Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Moulana Matiur Rahman Nizami has condemned the
killing of 25 Muslims by Myanmar forces at Arakan on the Eid day.
In a statement issued here yesterday, the Jamaat chief said that killing
of 25 Muslims by the Myanmar army and preventing the Muslims from
offering prayers on Eid by the government in Arakan state was a clear
violation of the Charter of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations.
He said that as a member of the UN, Myanmar was bound to ensure the
religious rights of the minority Muslims living there.
He called upon all international organisations, including the UN, OIC
and all peace loving countries and specially the Muslim states, to put
pressure on the Myanmar government to stop violence against the hapless
Muslims of the country and ensure their religious and political rights.
Xinhua: Chinese police seize over 200 kg of heroin at Yunnan-Burma
Beijing, in English 0720 gmt 27 Dec 00
Xinhua (New China news agency)
Kunming, 27 December: Police in southwest China's Yunnan Province, which
borders Myanmar Burma , recently seized 244 kg of heroin hidden in a
truck that was apparently transporting tea from Ruili County, in the
Dehong Tai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, to the provincial capital
The driver's expression aroused suspicion of border police at Mukang
checkpoint in the prefecture, which led to the seizure of the drug. The
drug was found mixed in a tea box at the bottom of the truck. Three
suspects were arrested on the spot. Border police at Mukang have
confiscated 604 kg of heroin this year.
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