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BurmaNet News: June 11, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         June 11, 2001   Issue # 1821
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

NOTED IN PASSING: ?The Siamese are very much fond of poisoning food. 

Dr. Ma Tin Win, author of several anti-Thai articles in Burma?s state 
press.  See e.g. The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): If you are a liar you 
can't put the facts down 

*Reuters: Dozens feared killed in Myanmar flash floods
*AFP: Myanmar says Thai media reports "blame it all on us" 
*BMA: Dialogue going well, patience needed, inside sources said
Mizzima: Former Communication minister under investigation 

MONEY _______
*Burma Courier: Promise: Mobile Phone Net Will Work Inside of a Month
*Xinhua: Myanmar, India Sign Contracts to Purchase Machinery
*Burma Courier: Hydro Electric Plans Blasted by Funding Drought
*Burma Courier: Import Restrictions Force Suzuki to Reduce Production

*AFP: Myanmar announces veteran battleplan as row with Thailand simmers 

*Burma: Officials seize Thai-bound stimulant tablets - opposition radio

*AP: Mending ties with Myanmar not at cost of sovereignty
*BurmaNet: Conference notable mostly for what was unsaid
*AFP: Thai PM vows to close Myanmar dissident and refugee centers 
*ABC: Refugees Granted Asylum in Guam Despite HIV Status

*Letter:  In Defense of My Father U Nu
* The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): If you are a liar you can't put the 
facts down 

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Reuters: Dozens feared killed in Myanmar flash floods

YANGON, June 8 

Dozens of people were feared killed in central Myanmar after a dam 
overflowed in torrential rain and swamped nearby villages, residents and 
officials said on Friday. 

 The water level at Montine Dam, 350 miles (560 km) north of Yangon, 
rose seven feet (2.14 metres) in two hours on June 2, an agriculture 
ministry official told Reuters. 

 ``People were caught by surprise,'' one district resident told Reuters 
by telephone. ``They did not have time to prepare anything when their 
villages were inundated by the flash floods.''
 A senior official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation told 
Reuters lives were lost and property damaged but he declined to give 

 The official said the dam's overflow had run into the neighbouring 
Panlaung River and the situation had returned to normal. 

 ``The water level at the Montine Dam suddenly rose because of the 
torrential rain and it overflowed the service spillway around midnight 
on June 2,'' said the official, who declined to be identified. He did 
not elaborate. 

 Witnesses in the area said dozens of people had been killed and many 
were still missing. 
 Last week at least 12 people were killed in northern Myanmar when a 
train was derailed by heavy rains and raging mountain torrents. 

 The early rainy season has seen unusually heavy downpours in Myanmar 
and neighbouring Bangladesh. 


AFP: Myanmar says Thai media reports "blame it all on us" 

BANGKOK, June 10 
Myanmar said Sunday that a string of Thai media reports had blamed its 
people and military for "all things that have and are going wrong in 

 In a statement released Sunday, Myanmar's military government said 
Myanmar had been accused of being responsible for "uncontrollable 
criminal activities" in Thailand. 

 "We have again come to read articles, reports and stories accusing and 
blaming not only the Myanmar people but Myanmar military intelligence 
for all things that have and are going wrong in Thailand, including the 
uncontrollable criminal activities there," it said. 

 The latest article accused the Myanmar Military Intelligence Service of 
"piracy, drug trade, auto and arms smuggling," the statement said. 

 Myanmar said some earlier reports had also made "irresponsible 
allegations," including the portrayal of Myanmar troops as culprits in 
the killing of Thai villagers along the border last December. 

 Myanmar and its leaders had also been reported as profiting from the 
drugs trade and holding responsibility for Thailand's internal drug 
networks, it said. 

 "Of course, this kind of 'blame it all on Myanmar' is not something new 
but should be avoided while...the governments of (the) two countries are 
trying to enhance better understanding, friendship and sincere 

 Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed Saturday that he would 
travel to Myanmar on June 19 and 20 as part of a regional tour.
 Thaksin said he would try to "clear the air" during his meetings in 
Yangon, including with the military-run nation's leader Senior General 
Than Shwe, and put relations back on a normal footing.
 "I have an advance team working on this visit. When I go there 
everything will be sorted out," he said.
 The statement is the latest volley in a simmering row between the 
uneasy neighbors over who is responsible for the thriving border drugs 

 Tensions between Thailand and Myanmar have also risen recently due to 
reports that a new Myanmar history textbook depicts Thais as lazy and 

2001-06-10 Sun 06:37 


BMA: Dialogue going well, patience needed, inside sources said

By Tin Maung Htoo
Burma Media Association (BMA)
June 9, 2001

In the mid of growing intolerance on prolong outcome and disillusion 
over the lack of ethnic engagement in the ongoing dialogue, a leader of 
Burma Democracy Movement reminded to generate more patience while the 
process is in its right trail and going well, sources in Burma said.

According to sources, U Lwin, the joint secretary of NLD's central 
executive committee, met with representatives of NLD Rangoon Division on 
June 7 and urged the aforementioned request after some confusion and 
criticism came out from relevant elements active both inside and outside 
of Burma. 
Sources said Daw Aung San Suu Kyi herself did not want to publicize the 
facts and preliminary drafts while a mutual respect, trust and 
understanding are being built and further setback to be wiped out before 
a concrete progress and result have been worked out.

It is also reported that she has been occasionally meeting with the 
party's chairman U Aung Shwe and vice-president U Tin Oo for further 
proceeding and consultation although she still only takes part in the 

Sources in Burma said they were expecting a release of some political 
prisoners especially elderly and sick ones within 90 days from now on, 
as a good gesture and conciliatory tone of military regime in the talk. 

According to other sources, the military itself is also planning some 
forms of a withdrawal for inevitable transitional period in Burma, and 
at the same time, preparing its strength and readiness for future 
dominance in Burma politics, mobilizing and organizing its patronized 
organizations throughout the country.


Mizzima: Former Communication minister under investigation 

By Moe Myat (Yangon) 
June 10, 2001, Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com) 

Former Minister for Telecommunications, Post and Telegraphs Brigadier 
General Win Tin is currently under investigation at an undisclosed 
location in Yangon for the corruption charges, said sources close to the 
authorities in Yangon. The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) 
abruptly sacked Brig. General Win Tin last month and former in charge of 
military and civil administration of Magwe Division Brig. General Thein 
Zaw had replaced him. 

Although the Burma Media Association, a Burmese media organization in 
exile, initially released the news last week of the detention, the 
Burmese authorities have neither confirmed nor denied the report. 

Sources close to the authorities confirmed this correspondent that 
former minister is under investigation with corruption charges. 
Moreover, his house in Yangon was raided while some people who have 
links with him are also under investigation.  

Brig. General Win Tin was reportedly sacked for his alleged corruption 
during his office. Another immediate reason for his sacking was that he 
entered into conflict with leaders of "Wa" group which has full backup 
from the country's powerful military intelligence chief General Khin 

The sacked minister introduced the GSM (Global System of Mobile 
Communication) network in the country. Although the Skylink company 
(owned by Sanda Win, daughter of Burmese dictator U Ne Win) originally 
had the license to install the phone network inside the country, it was 
later sold to a company owned by Wa cease-fire group. 
Win Tin and leaders of Wa group entered into verbal conflict over the 
return of money, which the former minister was accused of misusing 
during his ministerial reign. U Aik Hauk, leader of Wa group complained 
to General Khin Nyunt about this and Win Tin was sacked. 

The government has till now sanctioned about 400 GSM phones in the 
country. Out of 400, the Wa and its associates have bought over 100 
phones while another hundred phones have gone into the hands of 
officials in the Communication and Post ministry. A GSM phone currently 
costs about six lakh and fifty thousand kyat (about US $ 1000) in Burma. 


DVB: More anti-Thai articles in new textbooks

As Thailand and Burma have been strongly arguing over the inclusion of 
12 pages of anti-Thai articles in the Burmese fourth grade history 
textbook, the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] has introduced 
more anti-Thai articles in the text for the new social studies subject 
for other grades - fifth to eight which is the entire middle school. 
With the aim of promoting patriotism among all the middle school 
students, the textbook of the SPDC's newly-introduced social studies 
subject mainly covers articles about Thailand and the Thai people.

The social studies subject for the fifth grade include the behaviour of 
the Thai people while the subject matter for the sixth and seventh 
grades include the battles fought and won by the Burmese kings. The 
prevailing situation at the Thai-Burma border is included in the social 
studies text for the eight grade.

The text gives details of smuggling of Burmese timber by the Thais, 
especially Thailand providing refuge to armed national race insurgents 
with photograph of Gen Saw Bo Mya, vice- chairman of the KNU, Karen 
National Union. The eight grade text also explained that the siege of 
the Burmese embassy in Bangkok by the Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors 
could not have occurred without the assistance of the Thai Government. 
Furthermore, the story of Luther and Johnny Htoo, the two 13-year-old 
leaders of God's Army, is also included in the text. But the main 
message the text convey is Thailand's attempt to sow discord and destroy 
the unity of Burma's national races.

The eight grade social studies textbook also includes a photograph of 
former drug kingpin Khun Sa. It explains how the Thais befriended Khun 
Sa, how he has changed, and how he became a reformed person after 
joining hands with the Burmese military government. These are all 
explained together with photographs in the SPDC's new social studies 
subject which will be introduced this school academic year.

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 9 Jun 01 


Burma Courier: Promise: Mobile Phone Net Will Work Inside of a Month

Based on an article by Thet Khaing in the Myanmar Times:  June 4, 2001 

RANGOON - A twelve-month delay in the start-up of the mobile phone 
network, using GSM (Global System Mobile) technology has been resolved 
and the new net will be functioning within the next month, according to 
an official of the Telecom Ministry who is responsible for the GSM 

U Kyaw Win told the Myanmar Time that phone handsets needed for GSM net 
will be available within the month in Rangoon and Mandalay.  He said it 
was still not possible to confirm the price of the German-made Siemens 
2000-model handsets.   According to Kyaw Win, the delays in the start-up 
of the mobile phone nets have been caused by problems in obtaining the 
equipment and the need to conduct exhaustive trials.

Also among the Telecom ministry's top priorities is the installation of 
55,000 digital telephone lines, including 38,000 connections in Rangoon 
and 17,000 in Mandalay, Pye and Toungoo over the next two years.  The 
ministry has a US$16.9 million deal with China's Shanghai Bell telephone 
company to install the new telephone connections.

In an exclusive interview, Deputy General Manager U Tin Tun told the 
Myanmar Times that incoming Minister Brig-Gen Thein Zaw would pursue the 
Ministry's existing program priorities -- at least for the time being.  
The minister, formerly in charge of military and civil administration in 
Magwe division, assumed his new position suddenly last month after the 
abrupt sacking of his predecessor, Brig-Gen Win Tin.

Tin Tun said the department would continue its planned move towards the 
installation of  fibre optic telephone cable, which transmits via a fast 
light wave compared with the
slower electronic wave of the traditional copper cable. U Tin Tun said 
no timetable had been confirmed for the project.


Xinhua: Myanmar, India Sign Contracts to Purchase Machinery

YANGON, June 9 

Myanmar Ministry of Industry-2 and Angelique International Ltd of India 
have signed contracts for purchasing machinery worth 4.8 million U.S. 
dollars, according to the Myanmar Industry-2 Ministry Saturday. Managing 
Directors of departments and enterprises under the Myanmar Ministry of 
Industry-2 and Vice Chairman of Angelique Ltd of India signed the 
contracts here on Friday. The event was witnessed by Myanmar Minister of 
Industry-2 Major- General Saw Tun and First Secretary of the Indian 
Embassy AC Pandey. The machinery will be used at iron casting, ball 
bearing, cable and electric meter workshops of the ministry. India has 
extended to Myanmar credit lines for twice, of which the first one in 
1998 was worth 10 million dollars while the second one in 2000 was 
valued at 15 million dollars. The prior credit line was utilized by the 
Myanmar side for setting up industrial plants and for supply of railway 
rolling stocks from India, while the latter one was used for sourcing 
industrial and electrical equipment from India.	


Burma Courier: Hydro Electric Plans Blasted by Funding Drought

Based on an article by Win Kyaw Oo in the Myanmar Times:  June 4, 2001 
RANGOON - Burma's national power company will hold off on raising 
electricity rates because of inflationary fears, its deputy chief 
engineer told the Myanmar Times in an interview published in the June 4 
edition of the English-language weekly.

"If we increase the present tariff rate, there will be other 
side-effects like that the prices of consumer goods will rise because of 
a conditional increment in their production costs," said U Win Kyaw of 
the Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise.

MEPE charges differing rates for household, commercial and government 
use, but the average 5.5 kyat per kilowatt hour (less than $US 1 cent 
per kwh) is far below what the company needs to maintain and expand its 
power supply. MEPE estimates that construction and maintenance costs for 
the development of new plants work out to an average US$ 0.5 million to 
$0.8 million per megawatt of installed capacity.

Currently, the national power grid has an installed generating capacity 
of about 1,050 MW of all types but figures highlighted in a World Bank 
study a couple of years ago showed staggering losses of up to a third of 
the 4.5 billion kilowatt hours generated annually owing to technical 
faults in transmission and related problems.  In Thailand and Malaysia 
such losses are limited to 12-15 per cent of annual production, while in 
Japan the figure is 6-7%.

A list of over a dozen hydro-power projects that MEPE has currently 
scheduled is provided in a box accompanying the article.  However, work 
on nearly all of them is still at the site clearing phase in conjunction 
with the Irrigation Department of the Ministry of Agriculture  The list 
includes seven dams sites in the Sittaung watershed where clearing began 
earlier this year.

Also mentioned are the much larger Yeywa (700 MW) and Shweli (300 MW) 
projects in Patheingyi and Namkhan townships that are said to have the 
potential to produce over 5 billion kilowatts of power annually.  The 
military junta has been angling to get India involved in the 
construction of the Yeywa project.  While the site for the Yeywa dam has 
been finalized, potential locations for the Shweli project are still 
under study. 
The hydro project nearest to completion is the Paunglaung station near 
Pyinmana which will add about 900 million kilowatt hours to the national 
grid when it comes on-line in 2003-4.

With rate increases ruled out as a major factor, other potential sources 
of capital in the development of power are also being explored.  "The 
formation of a power-development consortium of local investors and MEPE 
is now under discussion," U Win Kyaw told the Myanmar Times.  He said 
that the infrastructure needed to develop the Yeywa project was being 
studied in consultation with an unidentified European firm.

A paper prepared by a Japanese expert, obtained by the Times reporter, 
identified the limited availability of capital funds, doubts concerning 
the financial viability of foreign investments, poor access and security 
constraints and differences over agreements involving potential users of 
water resources as major factors retarding the development of new hydro 

The article did not deal with natural gas-fired generation of 
electricity which currently provides more than half of national 
production.  With inland gas production dropping and off shore 
production headed almost exclusively to Thailand to bring in desperately 
needed foreign exchange, the potential for expansion of gas-fired 
generation would appear to be severely curtailed. 


Burma Courier: Import Restrictions Force Suzuki to Reduce Production

Based on an article by Myo Lwin in the Myanmar Times:  June 4, 2001 
RANGOON - Tough import restrictions have forced Myanma Suzuki to cut 
back severely on its assigned production of motor bikes, passenger cars 
and small trucks, an article in the June 4 edition of the Myanmar Times 

In its third year of operation the factory had an assigned capacity of 
5,000 vehicles, but manager U Ne Lin Oo of SPA, one of the company 
partners, told the Times that this had been reduced to 1,680 vehicles 
due to a cut back in import allowances for the fiscal year 2000-1.  "As 
a matter of fact, parts for manufacturing even that number have not 
arrived yet, though the production date is three months over due."

No breakdown of the number of each type of vehicle was provided, but 
figures provided for the previous year showed assigned quotas of 920 
bikes, 488 cars and 436 trucks.

The vehicles are assembled and painted in the company's South Dagon 
plant mostly using parts imported from Japan, although some come from 
the U.S., Indonesia and India.

The prices of the wagons and carry trucks are fixed at US$10,976 and 
US$6,624 per unit, but buyers face waiting times of more than one year 
to take possession of their vehicles.  Government policy restricts the 
purchase of the cars and trucks produced by the company to private users 
who bring in export dollars to the country.

Myanmar Suzuki is a joint venture between the Suzuki Motor Corp of Japan 
(60%), the government's Ministry of Industry-2 (30%) and local companies 
SPA and Tomen Corp (5% each).  The assembly plant was opened in 1998. 


Burma: Officials seize Thai-bound stimulant tablets - opposition radio

June 10, 2001 8:37am

Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 8 June 

DVB [Democratic Voice of Burma] has learned that a huge amount of 
stimulant tablets from Mandalay bound for Thailand was seized near 
Pa-An. Although a large amount of stimulant tablets were seized the SPDC 
[State Peace and Development Council] has so far reported nothing about 
the seizure. According to drug traffickers, border authorities are 
involved in the drug trafficking trade. DVB correspondent Maung Tu filed 
this report. 

[Maung Tu] Seven million stimulant tablets transported from Mandalay by 
a van was seized at Kyanigon bus station in Pa-an, Karen State on 2 
June. If the van was not seized in Pa-an the drugs would have been 
trafficked all the way to Mae Sot [in Thailand] via Myawadi. Although 
there were frequent seizures of narcotic drugs in Pa-An, Myawadi and 
Kawkareik Townships, the SPDC never reported anything and the 2 June 
arrest is also not mentioned after almost a week. Furthermore, some of 
the seized drugs were resold to the Thai side by MI [Military 
Intelligence] Unit 25. Thai authorities claimed many small factories 
producing stimulant tablets have emerged at the Myawadi border area and 
they have been selling the drugs to the Mae Sot side. Moreover, Thai 
authorities claimed they have proof that the drugs are being trafficked 
via Mae Sot to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore. 

Source: Democratic Voice of Burma, Oslo, in Burmese 1430 gmt 8 Jun 01 


AFP: Myanmar announces veteran battleplan as row with Thailand simmers 

YANGON, June 8 

Myanmar's military this week announced a contingency plan to call up 
some 99,000 battle-hardened war veterans in the event of an attack on 
its territory by "hostile" neighbours. 
 The resolution, passed at a war veterans' conference which ended 
Thursday, was linked with a simmering row with Thailand which erupted 
after a half-day border skirmish between the two national armies in 
 Home Minister Colonel Tin Hlaing said Myanmar occupied a strategic 
position in the region, surrounded by big nations with "nuclear 
capability", as well as those with hostile foreign polices "under the 
influence of a major power". 

 In a clear dig at Thailand, he said certain neighbouring countries were 
"building up their military power, carrying out military manoeuvres and 
promoting their military capabilities." 

 Tin Hlaing also accused them of making "preposterous accusations" and 
"attempting to create battles at the border areas." 

 In response, he said in comments reported in the official media, 
Myanmar had formulated a national defence and security plan designed to 
counter the actions of neighbours who were "stoking a fire" in order to 
foment unrest. 

 Under the new "militia strategy" the war vererans would be deployed to 
use their fighting and logistics experience to give support to the 
regular army and the police force, which would also take up front-line 
duties if called upon. 

 "NGOs (non-government organisations) formed with women are required to 
crush the enemies from the rear line," he said. 

 The conference also emphasized the importance of "national 
reconsolidation", especially in the light of tensions along the 
Thai-Myanmar border. 

 Veterans' Association vice-chairman and Labor Minister Major General 
Asaw Tun said it was vital to open "political, economic, social, 
organisational and military fronts" in order to gain the upper hand 
against the enemy. 

 The comments are the latest entry in the increasingly bitter 
tit-for-tat exchange between the two neighbours which has prompted a 
flurry of official protests from both sides. 

 In the latest outburst, Thailand took umbrage at reports that a new 
Myanmar history textbook portrayed Thais as lazy and servile. 

 Despite the ill-will, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has 
repeatedly said he is optimistic that the wrangle will be resolved when 
he makes his first visit to Myanmar. 

 "There is no better way (to solve problems) than to have the leaders 
talk to each other ... I am ready to go," he said recently. 

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AP: Mending ties with Myanmar not at cost of sovereignty
CHIANG MAI, Thailand - 2001-06-10 Sun 02:42 

Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said Sunday that Thailand was 
eager to mend ties with Myanmar, but warned that it would not tolerate 
insults on its sovereignty and its royal family. 

 In a speech at a one-day conference on Thai-Myanmar ties held in this 
northern town, Surakiart said the government would ``fight with all 
efforts'' if their dispute boiled down to these two issues. 

 ``What the Thai government cannot tolerate is our sovereignty (being 
violated) ... and the insult to our royal dynasty, which we strongly 
protest,'' he said. 

 Surakiart's comments came two days after Prime Minister Thaksin 
Shinawatra announced that he would travel to Myanmar on June 19-20 to 
hold talks with that country's military junta to end bickering between 
the two countries. 

 The visit would significantly lessen the tension as ``there are things 
that needed to be discussed in private between the two leaders to settle 
the problem,'' Surakiart said without elaborating. 

 Thai-Myanmar relations have reached nadir over a range of disputes 
including Thai allegations that Myanmar supports drug trafficking. The 
armies of the two countries have fought sporadic battles at the border 
and some a Myanmar artillery narrowly missed a royal building near the 

 Nationalist newspapers in both countries have also waged a war of 
words, trading insults with some Myanmar newspapers writing articles 
critical of the Thai royalty. 

 Surakiart said he believed the ties could be easily mended once the 
distrust and misunderstanding between the two nations was eliminated. 

 The conference was organized by Chulalongkorn University and Asia 
Forum, a local think tank. It was attended by about 500 participants 
including army and police officers, officials from the interior and 
defense ministries, academics, nongovernment organization workers and 

 Meanwhile, the Myanmar government issued a statement Sunday, urging 
Thailand and Thai newspapers to stop ``demonizing and scapegoating'' 

 It said the Thai media have made several ``irresponsible allegations'' 
recently, and cited an article Sunday in the Bangkok Post titled 
``Burmese spies are everywhere.'' The article accuses the Myanmar 
Military Intelligence Services of piracy, drug trade, auto and arms 

 ``Of course, this kind of `blame it all on Myanmar' is not something 
new but should be avoided while and when the governments of the two 
counties are trying to enhance better understanding, friendship and 
sincere cooperation,'' the statement said. 

 Myanmar hopes that ``both nations can join hands to resolve the 
challenges and common problems they are encountering,'' it said. 


BurmaNet: Conference notable mostly for what was unsaid

June 10, 2001

A Thai conference on how to deal with its Burma problem was notable for 
the reticence of its participants to talk about drugs.  The conference 
was organized by academics close to Foreign Minister Surakiart 
Sathirathai and held at a Chiang Mai hotel.  Surakiart gave the key note 
address and was followed by several panels made up primarily of 
academics, Foreign Ministry officials, business representatives and the 
Deputy Chief of Staff for Thailand?s Third Army.

The tone of speakers from the podium was notably softer from academics 
and others who spoke from the floor.  The difference may be partly 
attributable to a directive issued by Defense Minister Chavalit 
Yongchaiyudh on Saturday to Thai officials--especially in uniform--not 
to say anything provocative about Burma before Prime Minister Thaksin 
decides for certain whether to make a trip to Thailand on June 20.

Surakiart?s most notable comment about Thailand?s two non-negotiable 
demands with respect to Burma--no violations of national sovereignty and 
no insults to the monarchy--was significant in that cutting off the drug 
production was not mentioned and so is presumptively negotiable.  
Surakiart managed to deliver an hour long address without mentioning the 
name of a single Burmese official and only to mention the country by 
name once.

Col. Chanchai, the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Third Army heeded the 
Defence Minister?s order not to say anything directly provocative but he 
used a Thai phrase to describe who the Thai army is fighting that is 
politically loaded.  In recent weeks, Col. Chanchai?s boss, the Third 
Army commander has started to describe the forces his troops are up 
against as something that translates literally into ?ethnic Wa Burmese 
forces.? Chanchai, as well as several other speakers, used the Third 
Army Commander?s phrase as a matter of course. Previously, Thai 
officials described their opponents as the ?Red Wa? or just the Wa. 

The change of phrasing continues to be rendered as ?United Wa State 
Army? by The Bangkok Post and The Nation but is far more provocative 
because it is inching up to the line of saying that Thai troops are 
fighting an extension of Burma?s army.  This is exactly what is 
happening but an open admission that the two armies are fighting each 
other would make cohabitation inside ASEAN even more difficult.



AFP: Thai PM vows to close Myanmar dissident and refugee centers 

BANGKOK, June 9 

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra Saturday renewed a government 
pledge to shut down camps for Myanmar political dissidents and refugees 
after confirming plans for an official visit to Yangon. 

 Thaksin confirmed the Maneeloy Holding Center, which houses dissidents 
from Myanmar's 1988 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, would be 
closed by early next year while refugee camps would also be shut 

 He said people living at the Maneeloy camp in Thailand's central 
province of Ratchaburi would be resettled in third countries. 

 "The Maneeloy Center would be closed soon, no later than early next 
year," Thaksin said. "We will send (the dissidents) to third countries 
but it could take some time due to problems that have accumulated." 

 Thaksin also said the numerous refugee camps along the Myanmar border 
would be gradually closed, and that he would tackle the problem of 
illegal immigrants from Myanmar, which number about one million, he 

 Thailand is home to more than 120,000 refugees from Myanmar, many of 
whom are from the Karen ethnic group and live in camps on the Thai side 
of the border. 

 Thaksin will visit Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar this month. His regional 
tour takes him to Laos between June 13-14, Cambodia from June 18-19 and 
finally to Myanmar on June 19 and 20. 
 The Thai premier said he was confident the visit would ease tensions 
with Myanmar after months of increasingly bitter mud-slinging over who 
is responsible for the rampant drug trade along their border. 

 Thaksin said he would try to "clear the air" during his meetings in 
Yangon, including with the military-run nation's leader Senior General 
Than Shwe, and put relations back on a normal footing. 

 "I can guarantee that all problems will be resolved," he said. 

 Thaksin added that his visit could represent a milestone for relations 
between the uneasy neighbors and lay the groundwork for a long-term 


ABC: Refugees Granted Asylum in Guam Despite Hiv Status

WASHINGTON, Jun 7 (ABC) -- A group of 46 Burmese nationals on the island 
of Guam have been granted asylum and will be allowed to apply for 
resident status in the U.S.

Ron Munia of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the U.S Department 
of Health said that although some asylum seekers have been detected with 
HIV, this will not affect their individual asylum applications.  He said 
a total of 978 asylum seekers on the island have been tested.

The discovery of the presence of HIV follows routine testing as a 
prelude to the Burmese nationals leaving for the continental U.S.  While 
health department officials would not confirm how many of the asylum 
seekers tested positive, the number was said to not be high considering 
the region they originated from.

An estimated one thousand Burmese nationals arrived in Guam seeking 
political asylum before the Guam Visa Waiver Program was suspended for 
Burma in January.


Letter:  In Defense of My Father U 

June 2001

[Originally sent to The Bangkok Post]

  I am horrified to learn that several Muslims died and many injured 
during last week?s racial riot between the Burmese Burmese and the 
Burmese Muslims in the Pegu Division, Burma. 

  I am equally horrified to learn from the news report under the caption 
of ?Muslims attacked over 40-year policy ? Burma declared Buddhist by U 
Nu? in your esteemed newspaper Bangkok Post, yesterday May 26 on page 3. 
The report was based on Maung Maung, a 62 year-old exiled Burmese Muslim 
stating: ?U Nu government outlined a policy declaring Buddhism as a 
state religion and forbidding Burmese of other religious faiths, viz. 
Muslims and Christians, from holding important posts?. 

  For nearly 4 decades the public, both domestic as well as 
international, have been fed with distorted and fabricated information 
by various sources, and, the abovementioned report, regrettably was not 
free from such fabrication. 

  It is true that under U Nu?s Union Party Government, 1960-62, a bill 
at the Parliament was introduced of making Buddhism the state religion 
but there was no such thing as religious discrimination whatsoever at 
all. Because of respect for the rights of minorities U Nu appointed an 
Enquiry Commission to sound out public opinion first. With an exception 
at the Kachin State, the commission was given rough reception, but 
elsewhere, the receptions were peaceful and cordial. In Rangoon, U Nu 
met with religious leaders, including Muslims and Christians as well as 
Hindus. They objected, of course, but there was no one among them who 
claimed that the bill in any way infringed their constitutional rights. 

  In the Constitution written under the Directive Resolution given by 
our national leader Bogyoke Aung San: About 85 percent of the population 
in Burma is Buddhist. Among the major national minorities, such as the 
Karen, the Shan, the Arakanese, and the Mon, a majority profess 
Buddhism. The article 21. [3] clearly stated: ?The State shall not 
impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of 
religious faith or belief?. 

  Besides, in the Union Government that introduced the bill making 
Buddhism the Sate religion there was a Cabinet Minister by the name of U 
Raschid, a Muslim. A universal cabinet ruling stipulates that if a 
minister is in disagreement with the Prime Minister, the minister 
resigns first from the cabinet to ventilate his disagreement. U Raschid 
was allowed to object the bill in the parliament without having to 
resign from the cabinet and he did ventilate his objection. U Raschid 
remained as a minister in the cabinet and was detained for five years 
along with U Nu in March 2, 1962 coup staged by General Ne Win, the 
Chief of the Armed Forces. 

  In the AFPFL governments, prior to the Union Party?s government, from 
1948 to 1958, there were Muslims as well as Christians. U Raschid, and 
Mr. Abdul Latif also known as U Khin Maung Latt, two Muslims. U Than 
Aung also known as Mr. Rivers, and Mrs Ba Maung Chain, both Christians, 
to name a few. I supposed cabinet post is high enough.  

  The Governor?s Executive Council headed by Bogyoke Aung San inducted a 
Burmese Muslim leader Mr. Razak from Mandalay to serve in the Council. 
He was assassinated along with Bogyoke on July 19, 1947 before Burma 
gained independence.  

  All democratically elected governments of Burma were bound by the 
Constitution adopted on September 24, 1947, which explicitly expressed: 
?We the people of Burma including the Frontier Areas and the Kareni 
State, determined to establish in strength and unity a Sovereign 
Independent State, to maintain social order on the basis of the eternal 
principles of Justice, Liberty, and Equality and to guarantee and secure 
to all citizens Justice social economic and political; Liberty of 
thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and 
action; Equality of status, of opportunity and before the law, Do hereby 
Adopt, Enact and Give to Ourselves this Constitution?. 

  It was nice that Maung Maung could exercise his Freedom of Ignorance 
at Umphang refugee camp, which is beyond the boundaries of Burma but I 
would like to remind that it would be politically sinful to create 
unnecessary racial tension.  

U Aung



The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): If you are a liar you can't put the 
facts down 

Tuesday, 5 June, 2001

As I cannot stop the work which I have already started, I have to write 
till the end of the period which I have to fix. I am writing as I want 
our citizens, especially the youth to know their own history in 
comparison with that of others'. It is not that I am writing with every 
intention of bringing disgrace on others. I don't want my writings to 
become insignificant after the show is over. If our citizens themselves 
think that the facts are true when they are young but these facts are 
distorted ones when they grow up, not only I but also the nation readers 
will lose esteem. Therefore, I write only after I have read a lot 
Very recently, in the Daily News newspaper, an article written on the 
basis of wrong information about Myanmar monarchs appeared. What the 
Siamese (Thai) article writer meant is that Myanmar monarchs spoke 
friendly words on the one hand and invaded the territory of another 
nation on the other hand and that they were not trust worthy. The 
article said that in the time of Rama I, who established Ratanakosin 
dynasty, King Badon offered to form a tie of friendship. It also said 
that the king offered to establish a friendly tie, but the king of Siam 
did not accept the offer. (There was no such a thing as this kind of 
offer for the establishment of friendly ties; if there had been such an 
offer, it would not have been approved of. It was because Siamese were 
attacking Lower Myanmar. Therefore, Myanmar did not want to make friends 
with them.) 
Not included not only in the treatises of Myanmar but also in the 
historical books of Siam was such an offer. If the king mentioned in the 
article were one of other kings apart from King Badon, we might happen 
to believe it. King Badon would not offer to form an alliance with Siam 
that was clandestinely making incursions after inciting Mon nationals in 
Myanmar. King Badon was too proud. Although the British sent envoys very 
frequently, he did not take any interest in that matter. 
One thing for sure is that King Badon was not a militant king. However, 
he himself leading nine units in five columns attacked Siam in 1785. No 
matter whether we like it or not, we have to accept it. Myanmars lost 
that war. It is because they had to march from a place very far away, 
the support troops could not catch up with them and they were starving. 
At a battle, the troops of King Badon seized a camp of Siam. As the 
troops of King Badon were starving, they happened to eat food they could 
find. Many troops died as the Siamese poisoned the food. The Siamese are 
very much fond of poisoning food. 
The points mentioned by the article writer of the Daily News Newspaper 
did not tally with one another. The article said that Myanmars offered 
to form a tie of friendship from the side of Phaya Thonzu in 1793, and 
that as they knew the intention of Myanmars, they declined the offer. It 
is difficult to believe. If Myanmars had wanted to form an alliance, 
they would not have to come through Phaya Thonzu Pass. Just an envoy 
would be sent there. If they had declined the offer, Myanmar would have 
attacked them. The article also said that in 1797, Myanmars attacked 
them, that in 1799, Myanmars offered to establish an alliance from 
Kanchanburi road, that Siam refused to accept it, that in 1808, the 
Myanmar king sent an envoy to form an alliance, and that as the king of 
Siam was very old, he had to accept the offer for forming of an 
alliance. Even though the facts included in your article are not based 
on firm evidence, you, Siamese article writer, said that as the king of 
Siam was ver! y old, he had to accept the offer for forming of an 
alliance. It is you yourself that wrote about it. You should have taken 
care to write about that matter. Other people may run away with the idea 
that when the kings of Siam grew old, they felt small. The article said 
that in 1809, King Badon invaded Siam, and in 1823, King Badon died. 

What a pity! The article writer is writing about history without having 
any knowledge about history. I used to think highly of the Siamese as 
they taught history with seriousness. Now they are saying what they like 
just for the sake of discrediting Myanmar whether the information is 
true or not. 

Myanmars attacked Siam in 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1791. As a province of 
Malay invited King Badon because it did not want to kowtow to Siam, 
Myanmars marched to launch the last attack. Due to the last march, 
Taninthayi could be safeguarded. It is explicitly said in the history 
books compiled in previous periods and in this period that the 
operations of King Badon failed. 
 It is sure that the person who wrote an article about Myanmar appearing 
in the Daily News Newspaper dated 21 May 2001 has not read history books 
carefully. King Badon passed away in 1819. That person said in his 
article that the king died in 1823. I think that that person hasn't read 
the fact that the king died in 1819 which was included in the Myanmar 
history books and other history books in various languages. 

Sagaing Prince was not son of King Badon but grandson. After his 
grandfather passed away in 1819, he acceded to the throne. He did not 
think big like his grandfather. He had no time to invade Siam as he 
wished to live with his beloved queen peacefully and was arranging to 
build Inwa City. Another things were due to the bad condition of 
relations with the British and the western border affairs of Myanmar. 

What kind of evidence did the Daily News Newspaper article writer have 
in order to say that King Sagaing was many times more ruthless than his 
father? The writer also said that the scheme had been hatched up since 
1802 when his father came to the throne. It was in 1782 that his 
grandfather acceded to the throne. There are two mistakes. They 
protested my article noisily. Although they wrote mistakes, they have no 
sense of shame. In the international community, there are many people 
who have known Myanma history. The newspaper which states wrong 
information does not have prestige. Those who know history will realize 
that there are wrongs. 

I have to present how many mistakes they made about Bayintnaung in the 
Daily News Newspaper. I feel reluctant to write about Siamese monarchs. 
I am very reluctant to state a historical event within the specific time 
frame and the act of a person who is outstanding in history. Now I think 
that the Siamese article writer wrote that article without considering 
whether information was authentic or not. But I dare not follow in his 
footsteps. Myanmars have a sense of shame for having to say 
irresponsibly. I have to explain one thing clearly. The fact that the 
Myanmar king sent an envoy to Siam in 1808 to form an alliance is 
totally wrong. At that time and at that year, the crown prince (father 
of King Sagaing) of King Badon was terminally ill and passed away, and 
Badon was shrouded with sorrow. 

There is another thing I would like to present. The powerful British 
came to Myanmar to form an alliance beginning 1795 and in 1796, 1798, 
1802, 1803, 1809 and 1812. But King Badon did not care. How impossible 
it is to say that he attempted to form an alliance with Siam. 

In fact, if King Badon tried to form an alliance with Siam, they would 
have written about it in their reports. Now, there was no such a thing 
as that matter. I am now going to present the statements of historians. 
In the book " Lords of Life" by His Royal Highness Prince Chula 
Chakrabongse, King Badon marched to Siam five times. 
I am going to present the original statement of the Prince. The years 
were 1785,1786, 1787, 1796 and 1802. They were stated on page 97. 

On the pages from 108 to 111 of the book about the history of Siam by 
Rong Syamananda, which I have often quoted, the years were 1785,1786, 
1787, 1797 and 1802. 

The Daily News Newspaper article writer gave the years which do not 
tally with those stated by these two historians. It is stated that in 
1784, an offer was made to form an alliance; in 1785, an attack was 
launched; in 1793, an offer was made to form an alliance; in 1797, an 
attack was launched; in 1799, an offer was made to form an alliance; in 
1808, an offer was made to form an alliance; in 1809, an attack was 
launched. I don't know which records he referred. 

 In the records of Myanmar, it is stated that in 1785, 1786, 1787 and 
1791, King Badon attacked Siam. In the records of His Royal Highness 
Prince Chula Chakrabongse and Rong Syamananda, it is stated that an 
incursion was made in 1802. However, in that year, Symes, the envoy, 
arrived at Amarapura for the second time. The envoy met with King Badon 
as well as the crown prince. They discussed nothing about war. If 
Myanmar had been launching aggressive wars, persons like Symes would 
have sold arms and recorded these matters without fail. But there was 
nothing documented about war. 
Come to think of it. According to Professor Rong, Rama I attacked Dawei 
in 1787. They had to withdraw as they were faced with the food problem. 
In 1793, the King of Siam attacked Dawei, Myeik and Taninthayi towns. 
But they had to withdraw as local people did not help them and it was 
difficult to carry arms over mountains. The king of Siam tested response 
while launching many attacks. However, he had to beat a retreat. 

Author : Dr Ma Tin Win ( Institute of Education)


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