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

BurmaNet News: June 18, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         June 18, 2001   Issue # 1827
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

NOTED IN PASSING: ?...traitors, ciphers and fugitives.?

The regime?s description of the Burmese staff of the BBC, Voice of 
America, Radio Free Asia and Democratic Voice of Burma.  See The New 
light of Myanmar (SPDC): Those who daren't show their face - 18 

*AP: Myanmar military eases pressure, allows opposition office to open 
*AP: Myanmar press critical of Thailand ahead of Thaksin's visit 
*Asiaweek: Behind the War of Words--Have Myanmar's generals learned to 
listen as well as lecture? 

MONEY _______
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Domestic Tax Revenue Up in First Two Months
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Customs Duties Income Up Sharply in 1st Two Months
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Machinery Import up in First Two Months
*Asiaweek: Copper miner denies using forced labour in Myanmar

*Xinhua: Thailand, Myanmar to Sign MOU on Drug Suppression-- Report

*AFP: Annan welcomes release of prisoners in Myanmar 
*The Nation: Thaksin taking risk in Burma 
*The Nation: PM urged to tip hat to Suu Kyi 
*Bangkok Post: Premier to cement ties, fix relations
*Bangkok Post: Rivals agree to sign accords, build trust

*The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Those who daren't show their face - 18 


AP: Myanmar military eases pressure, allows opposition office to open 

June 16, 2001

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ In the latest move easing pressure on Myanmar's 
pro-democracy movement, the military government has given the National 
League for Democracy permission to reopen some of its offices in the 
capital after releasing eight elected opposition legislators. 

 ``Out of 40 NLD offices in Yangon Division, 18 branch offices will be 
allowed to reopen out of which nine will put up their old party 
signboards,'' U Lwin, secretary and central committee member of the 
National League for Democracy told The Associated Press on Saturday. 

 The government on Thursday released eight elected members of Parliament 
from the 1990 general election whose results the military refused to 
honor, never allowing Parliament to convene. The National League for 
Democracy won a landslide victory in the polls. 

 The releases marked the third batch of political prisoners freed since 
January. A group of 84 National League for Democracy members were 
released from Insein Prison in January and 16 more were released in 

 The releases followed the start of secret talks between National League 
for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military government, whose 
existence was made public in early January by U.N. special envoy Razali 
Ismail, a mediator in the country's political deadlock. 

 One of those released Thursday, 83-year-old Dr. Saw Mra Aung, was one 
of the country's oldest political prisoners. 
 The others released on Thursday night from so-called ``government guest 
houses'' inside military bases were Maung Aye, Ba Swe, Han Zaw, Tun 
Kywe, Tun Myaing, Myint Thein and Cin Shin Htan. 

 Saw Mra Aung belonged to the Arakan League for Democracy and Cin Shin 
Htan to Zomi National League for Democracy. The other six released 
detainees belonged to the NLD. 

 ``With the release of eight elected representatives on Thursday, 27 MPs 
now remain at so-called guest houses. We are hopeful that more will be 
released soon,'' said the NLD's U Lwin. 

 The military started a campaign of repression against the NLD soon 
after the election. 
 Military authorities detained hundreds of elected representatives, 
mostly from the NLD, in 1998 following the opposition party's 
announcement that it intended to unilaterally to convene a parliament. 
Junta leaders had said they would be released when they renounced their 
intention to convene an alternative parliament.


AP: Myanmar press critical of Thailand ahead of Thaksin's visit 

June 16, 2001

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar's state press on Saturday announced the 
upcoming visit of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but a critical 
commentary in one newspaper suggested he might not get a very warm 
 Thaksin's visit, to take place June 19, had already been announced in 
Thailand. The prime minister had said since taking office in February 
that a visit was a priority, but postponed his trip several times due to 
tensions between Yangon and Bangkok, as well as pressing domestic 
 Relations between Thailand and Myanmar, also known as Burma, have been 
at their lowest ebb in years since several small border clashes between 
their soldiers in February. 

 Thailand accuses Myanmar's military government of turning a blind eye 
to the production and trafficking of the illegal stimulant 
methamphetamine, which is smuggled into Thailand in huge quantities. 
Myanmar accuses Thailand of failing to tackle the drug problem within 
its own borders, and of supporting Myanmar anti-government guerrillas. 

 A short announcement in the official press Saturday said that Thaksin 
would be making his visit at the invitation of junta chairman and Prime 
Minister Gen. Than Shwe. 

 A separate commentary in the Myanmar-language Myanma Ahlin daily blamed 
some Thai officials and members of the military as well as the Thai 
media for creating misunderstanding and driving a wedge in relations 
between the countries. 

 ``I strongly believe that relations between the two neighboring 
countries which share a common geographical conditions and religious 
background should be smooth and free of any obstacle,'' wrote the 
pseudonymous author ``Pauk Sa'' in the state-run daily. 

 ``However, Thailand should understand how Myanmar people had suffered 
due to Thailand's conduct which is contrary to mutual trust and 
understanding and in violation of good neighborliness.'' 

 The author pointed out that Thailand has portrayed Myanmar in a 
negative light in their school books and movies, and repeat familiar 
charges about Thai support for Myanmar anti-government groups. 

 ``Thai media in connivance with some Thai army officials have made 
biased allegations against the Myanmar people, the Myanmar government 
and Myanmar military leaders. Armed with their pens, Myanmar historians, 
columnists and writers eventually retaliate for the biased and one-sided 
accusations of the Thai media,'' the column said. 

 The commentary charged that Lt. Gen. Wattanachai Chaimuanwong, the 
regional army commander for northern Thailand, gave military support to 
the ``drug trafficking terrorist'' Ywet Sit when he was under attack by 
the Myanmar army. launched offensive against the ethnic rebel. Ywet Sit, 
also known as Yawd Serk, is head of the Shan State Army, an ethnic rebel 


Asiaweek (online edition): Behind the War of Words: Have Myanmar's 
generals learned to listen as well as lecture? 

Thursday, June 14, 2001

Web posted at 04:50 p.m. Hong Kong time, 04:50 a.m. GMT 


Apart from the problem of finding a cheese-free dish for my 
distinguished Burmese guest, our lunch in Bangkok had been a delight. 
Twenty or 30 years ago, Thais, too, weren't happy about eating cheese or 
drinking cow's milk. Times change and enzymes adapt. Modern Thailand is 
now a frontline state in a global pizza war in which the super cheesy 
pizzas of one local chain are poised to win the day. Every conceivable 
type of ice cream is guzzled here, and caf? lattes abound. 

My Burmese guest finished his cheese-free sandwich and handed over a 
recent copy of The Myanmar Times. Tin Maung Than, 47, was the editor of 
Your Life magazine and one of Myanmar's best-known journalists until he 
fled to Thailand with his family last November. It would be hard to find 
anybody less threatening or more sincere. His main fear was that his 
efforts to hot-wire a dialogue between the ruling State Peace and 
Development Council (SPDC) and the National League for Democracy would 
come to light. From there it could have been a short hop to indefinite 
incarceration for some trumped-up offense against the state. That's 
Myanmar. And people wonder why ASEAN's vaunted policy of constructive 
engagement has flopped. 

The June 4 edition of the MT contained an interesting profile of Thakin 
Ba Thaung, "the revolutionary, and author of the national anthem." As I 
flicked through, an unexpected wave of nostalgia crashed down upon me. 
Clean white paper, crisp layout, generous use of color, a reasonable 
balance of news, business and features. In fact, all in all, completely 
unlike anything I had read from Myanmar before, especially when it was 
still known as Burma. This newspaper bore not the slightest resemblance 
to The Working People's Daily, which in 1989 was still a bargain at one 

In those days, visiting correspondents would compete with each other 
over breakfast to find a single fact in endless reports of officers 
dispensing advice to mute officials at meetings with cryptic headlines 
such as "Refresher Course No. 8." It was all so mysterious -- a bit like 
guessing what freemasons get up to at their lodge meetings. The WPD was 
set in gloriously wobbly type and specialized in articles that began on 
the back page and meandered forward. More than half the weather forecast 
was devoted to what had already occurred in the previous 24 hours. I 
suppose it's always better to avoid undue speculation, like what might 
happen next. Information can be a dangerous thing. 

Best of all were the fiery editorials and commentaries, not infrequently 
directed at the foreign correspondents themselves over alleged 
calumnies. Nothing like a public rap over the knuckles to get the day 
going. My worst offense was revealing on the BBC that one of the WPD's 
most fearsome columnists, Bo Thanmani, ("General Steel") was none other 
that Soe Nyunt, the newspaper's editor. I was hauled up in front of the 
State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) Information Committee to 
hear him read a four-page denunciation itemizing my journalistic 
shortcomings with Stalinesque attention to detail, little of it factual. 
My punishment was to be an admission of all my transgressions published 
in the Far Eastern Economic Review. "But he writes for Asiaweek," hissed 
a military intelligence officer, rousing himself from near slumber. An 
unenforceable penalty. There was embarrassed silence. A condemned man 
reprieved, I was fed bananas, thick sweet tea and wane smiles before the 
video camera was switched off and Myanmar's information czars shuffled 

The good old days. Nostalgia isn't what it was, and all that. Actually, 
it is. The Working People's Daily has been replaced by The New Light of 
Myanmar as the repository for some of the most cherished traditions of 
Burmese state journalism. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, 
this astonishing publication can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own 
home with free online delivery. (That's just so long as you don't 
actually live in Myanmar, where Internet access is restricted to about 
3,500 mailboxes.) The wobbly fonts and reverse weather forecasts may be 
gone, but the vitriol and pious editorials about how everybody else in 
the world has everything completely wrong are still alive, well and 
remarkably venomous. So too, are reports on generals giving undisclosed 
advice to quaking officials -- no doubt about something really crucial, 
like onion exports. 

Thailand has been on the receiving end of most of the venom lately, and 
has very curiously been referred to by its old name of Siam in some 
commentaries. The real Siam's skillful handling of predatory colonial 
powers in the 19th century was recently judged by one Burmese authority 
to be tantamount to enslavement -- a very contrary assessment of a 
kingdom that managed to avoid colonization, given that Burma was overrun 
by a small, well armed British force. A recent Burmese textbook 
described the Thais as -- in more politically correct parlance - "work 
averse." Ahem. 

Last year, Myanmar's deputy minister of national planning and economic 
development was sacked for his pointed revelations during a business 
seminar about the terrible state of the Burmese economy. At one point, 
he said: "There is no way Myanmar, with a GDP of only $1 billion 
dollars, can compete with Thailand which has a GDP of $55 billion. There 
is a lot we have to do to catch up with them." Indeed, perhaps we can 
all learn a thing or two from the Thais if they can be so productive 
with so little alleged effort. 

The Thai media have responded with broadsides of their own, and a war of 
words has raged. Mostly it trades on simplistic stereotypes and reopens 
historical hurts that have little bearing on the present day. The 
vicious snarling of the junta's media is anyway meant to divert 
attention from the rotten state of the Burmese economy. In May, chronic 
hard currency shortages sent the kyat's free market rate to over 950 to 
the dollar, an all time low. The preposterous official rate is 6.7 to 
the dollar 

Flaying Thailand may be a perverse short-term psychological palliative, 
but it won't change anything in the real world. Unpegging the kyat 
might. Be that as it may, the benefit of the economic meltdown is that 
the generals may finally have been compelled to enter a dialogue of 
sorts with Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy. Could even 
the SPDC be learning that nothing can be achieved when people refuse to 
talk to each other reasonably? 


Xinhua: Myanmar's Domestic Tax Revenue Up in First Two Months

YANGON, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's State Internal Revenue Department 
(SIRD) received a total of 8.275 billion Kyats (18.38 million U.S. 
dollars) in domestic revenue from various taxes in the first two months 
of this year, up 14.87 percent from the same period of 2000, according 
to the latest official Economic Indicators. Of the revenue obtained 
during the two-month period, 62 percent were from commodities and 
services taxes and commercial tax, 13.4 percent from state lottery, 12.1 
percent from profit tax, 9.2 percent from income tax and 3.3 percent 
from stamp duties. In Myanmar, individual citizens having an income 
amounting to 10,001 Kyats (about 22.2 dollars) and above are assessed to 
tax under the country's Income Tax Law which also covers cooperatives, 
companies and joint venture enterprises. However, salary recipients are 
not required to pay for income tax as the tax has been paid by way of 
deduction at their income sources, according to the SIRD. According to 
official statistics, Myanmar received 53.25 billion Kyats (118.3 million 
dollars) in domestic revenue from various taxes in 2000.


Xinhua: Myanmar's Customs Duties Income Up Sharply in 1st Two Months

YANGON, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar received 771.1 million U.S. dollars 
from customs duties in the first two months of this year, 394.58 percent 
more than the same period of 2000 when it registered at 155.91 million 
dollars with the income, according to the latest figures released by the 
country's Central Statistical Organization. The sharp increase of the 
country's customs duties income in the two-month period was attributed 
to the high income from import duties in February alone with 711.32 
million dollars. This phenomena was also linked to the strict management 
and supervision of the country's Customs Department. The main source of 
Myanmar's customs duties income comes from import through normal trade 
and border trade, of which the import customs duties income earned 
through normal trade accounted for 89. 32 percent of the total. To 
promote agricultural development, Myanmar government has exempted import 
customs duties levied on agricultural implements including fertilizer, 
pesticide and improved variety and machinery. According to official 
statistics, in 2000, Myanmar earned 891 million dollars from customs 
duties and its foreign trade totaled 4.086 billion dollars in the year, 
of which imports amounted to 2. 567 billion dollars, while exports were 
valued at 1.519 billion dollars.


Xinhua: Myanmar's Machinery Import up in First Two Months

YANGON, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's import of machinery equipment, 
which includes electric and non-electric ones, was valued at 147.08 
million U.S. dollars in the first two months of this year, increasing by 
65.72 percent compared with the same period of 2000, according to the 
latest data published by the country's Central Statistical Organization. 
During the two-month period, the import value of such machinery 
equipment accounted for 34.1 percent of the country's total import value 
which was registered at 431.15 million dollars. Of this, the import 
value of electric machinery apparatus amounted to 33.16 million dollars, 
increasing by 10.9 percent from the same period of 2000, while that of 
non-electric ones reached 113.92 million dollars, also rising by 93.57 
percent from the corresponding period of 2000. According to official 
statistics, in 2000, Myanmar imported 628. 05 million dollars worth of 
machinery equipment including electric and non-electric ones. Myanmar, 
an agricultural country lacking development in industry, has to depend 
on import for most of its different machinery equipment in need.


Asiaweek: Copper miner denies using forced labour in Myanmar: Invanhoe 
annual meeting: Company officials come prepared to challenge

June 17, 2001 12:08am


VANCOUVER - Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. denied yesterday it uses forced labour at 
its copper mine in Myanmar and said it remains committed to a 
US$280-million expansion of the project. 

Ivanhoe, which is chaired by mining promoter Robert Friedland, owns 50% 
of the Monywa Copper Project in Myanmar. The other half is owned by the 
Myanmar government. 

Forced labour is something that is abhorrent to directors, to all of the 
management, and to anyone right-minded. We have a policy where, I can 
assure you, we do not use forced labour, Daniel Kunz, Ivanhoe's 
president, told shareholders at the company's annual meeting yesterday. 

About 40 protestors yesterday picketed the Vancouver hotel where 
Ivanhoe's annual meeting was held. They complained of Myanmar's human 
rights record and handed out leaflets criticizing the country for 
allowing forced labour. 

Some critics have demanded Ivanhoe quit Myanmar, formerly known as 
Burma, entirely. 

Mr. Kunz said Ivanhoe's investment in Myanmar uses no 
government-produced infrastructure that has been built with involuntary 

The company was prepared to be challenged about the human rights issue 
at yesterday's meeting. Ivanhoe handed out a prepared statement to all 
shareholders. There has never been any evidence that Ivanhoe has ever 
used forced labour, and there is not a whit of evidence that Ivanhoe's 
investment is contributing to the use of involuntary labour in Myanmar, 
it said. 

In an interview after the meeting, Mr. Kunz said Ivanhoe has received 
competing offers to supply the US$280-million in loan financing the 
company needs to expand the second phase of the Monywa project. The 
company wants to increase annual production to 125,000 tonnes by 2003, 
up from the present level of 30,000 tonnes. 

Ivanhoe has been looking for the financing since February, when Mr. 
Friedland conducted a week-long Canadian road show to promote the 

Mr. Kunz said it has not been hard to interest lenders from Asia in 
backing the expansion. Two potential lenders have submitted bids. That' 
s not a lot of money when you consider the size of resource we're 
talking about here. 

Mr. Friedland did not attend. 


Xinhua: Thailand, Myanmar to Sign MOU on Drug Suppression-- Report

BANGKOK, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Thailand and Myanmar will sign a memorandum 
of understanding (MOU) on drug suppression and a 21- point joint 
communique during Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's visit, the Bangkok 
Post reported Monday. Thaksin will begin a two-day official visit to 
Myanmar Tuesday. In the communique, six points of which were proposed by 
Rangoon, a military source was quoted as saying. Myanmar agreed to take 
part in a four-way drugs meeting in China's Kunming with China, Laos and 
Thailand. The source said Myanmar rejected Thailand's proposal to set up 
two joint task forces, one for joint border defense and the other for 
drug suppression operations. Myanmar proposed instead the two countries 
make use of existing mechanisms at all levels to peacefully solve 

The mechanisms include the township border committee, regional border 
committee and joint boundary committee. The two countries have not 
reached agreement on disputed border areas, however the communique 
requires both sides to build mutual trust and respect for each other's 
independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The source said 
Myanmar was very careful with the wording of the MOU and the joint 
communique, leaving details on several issues for further negotiations. 
In the joint communique, Myanmar wanted Thailand to support the 
construction of two roads to promote trade and tourism. Myanmar agreed 
to reopen three border checkpoints, but refused to discuss fishery 
concessions. Myanmar also asked Thailand for educational support through 
the ASEAN University project and public health education, especially 
regarding HIV and AIDS. The MOU and joint communique were worked out in 
Rangoon by an advance team led by high-ranking Thai army officers and 
foreign ministry officials. The team visited Rangoon on Friday and 
Saturday and worked closely with Myanmar's Deputy Foreign Minister Khin 
Maung Win, the report said.

___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

AFP: Annan welcomes release of prisoners in Myanmar 

UNITED NATIONS, June 15 (AFP) - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on 
Friday welcomed the release of 12 political prisoners by the military 
junta in Myanmar, and said he hoped to see other detainees freed soon. 
 In Yangon earlier, it was announced that eight members of parliament 
and four other people had been released from detention. The announcement 
came after a four-day visit to Yangon by Annan's special envoy, Razali 
Ismail, at the start of this month. 

 The eight MPs included Saw Mra Aung, a high-ranking opposition figure 
who is close to the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San 
Suu Kyi. 
 In a statement through his spokesman, Annan repeated his view that 
"there is no alternative to the ongoing talks between the government and 
Aung San Suu Kyi to bring about the democratisation and national 
reconciliation in Myanmar." 

 He urged the two sides "to make further efforts to achieve tangible 
progress and calls on the international community to continue supporting 
the dialogue process," spokesman Manoel De Almeida e Silva said. 

 Annan "hopes to see further release of more political detainees in the 
near future," he added. 

 There are believed to be at least 1,700 political prisoners in Myanmar, 
which has been under a military dictatorship since a coup on September 
8, 1988. 

 At Razali's behest, the junta opened a high-level dialogue with Aung 
San Suu Kyi in October for the first time in six years, aimed at 
achieving "national reconciliation." 

 Aung San Suu Kyi is believed to have demanded that the junta begin 
releasing prisoners, and allow the NLD to reopen its offices around the 
country, before the contacts develop into a full-blown dialogue. 

 Razali is expected to visit Yangon again in July. 


The Nation: Thaksin taking risk in Burma 

June 18, 2001

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra leaves Bangkok today on official 
visits to Thailand's two close neighbours, Cambodia and Burma, countries 
which not so long ago shared one thing in common - an internal political 
armed conflict.

The presence of tens of thousands of Burmese refugees along the border 
as a result of Burma's political conflicts and the spill-over of 
fighting between Burmese troops and ethnic armed rebels |is clear in 
many people's memories.

And this serves to remind us how painstakingly Thai border villagers had 
to endure the same problem during the Cambodian conflicts of the1980's 
and early 1990's 

Only at the end of Cambodian conflicts in 1991, did Thailand begin to 
move with speed in normalising its ties with Cambodia, not without 
leaving a legacy of ragged nerve-ends exacerbated by boundary disputes.

Nevertheless, the leaders of both countries managed to resolve their 
problems amicably.

Thaksin's visit to Cambodia will be "icing on the cake", building on 
past efforts to restore trust and resume normal economic relations with 
our neighbours.

He will witness the signing of two historic agreements between Thailand 
and Cambodia during his two-day visit.

One will delimit their mutual sea boundary and jointly develop their 
overlapping maritime borders. 

Another is a framework agreement on comprehensive economic cooperation.

The late prime minister Chatichai Choonhavan helped open doors for 
economic opportunities to the war-torn Indochina by his popular policy 
of turning the Indo-Chinese battle field into a marketplace and thus 
laying the groundwork for boundary demarcation.

Former premier Anand Panyarachun emphasised trust-building with 
Thailand's neighbours.

Their successors, including Chuan Leekpai and Banharn Silpaarcha, have 
followed |suit although with different emphases.

Banharn was the first Thai prime minister to visit Burma in a decade 
when he travelled to Rangoon in 1995. 

However under Chuan's administration, Thailand has achieved a more 
balanced relationship with Burma. Whilst maintaining economic 
co-operation, the country fully encouraged political dialogue between 
|the Burmese military junta and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Like it or not, Thaksin sets his own record as being the first Thai 
prime minister to visit Burma and is in favour of what he believes to be 
sincere efforts to solve pressing problems.

His visit was preceded by three months of unprecedented turbulence, 
mainly stemming from his highly-publicised anti-drug campaign which 
blamed Rangoon for the massive influx of stimulant pills into Thailand.

He dispatched Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai and PM Office 
Minister Thammarak Issarangura on separate fence-mending missions to 
Burma only to encounter new obstacles.

Rangoon has tactically pushed the limit too far, using the media to play 
up the historic rivalry between Thailand and Burma and by criticising 
this country's highly revered monarchy. 

Without giving a clear signal or a sign of repentance, this tactic 
effectively prompted Thaksin to hastily arrange his visit to Rangoon 
before Burmese Foreign Minsiter Win Aung's trip to Thailand next week.

In the latest spate, widely publicised here this past week, Burma 
released a new history textbook for elementary schoolchildren, 
portraying Thais as servile and lazy.

It seemed an unnecessary insult to throw at Thailand, particularly on 
the eve of an important visit such as the one taking place in Rangoon 

It would be interesting to be a fly on wall, tuning-in to the private 
discussions to be held between our two countries' most important 
leaders, to hear precisely how Thaksin deals with these latest 
slanderous attacks which were clearly authorised by those in charge in 

His visit is considered highly risky since he has played Thailand's last 
remaining card in his dealings with Burma.

Securing, the anti-drug cooperation as well as a united front on border 
controls would certainly help improve the atmosphere after the recent 
period of diplomatic turbulence. 

But Thailand's approach to its future relationship with Burma will never 
be the same. 


The Nation: PM urged to tip hat to Suu Kyi 

June 18, 2001

By Jeerawat Na Thalang

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra should send a delegate to meet 
opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to Burma, Kobsak 
Chutikul, deputy chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said 

Kobsak said it would show Thailand's determination to support national 
reconciliation in the country, and rid the Burmese of suspicions about 

Kobsak, an MP under the Chat Thai banner, also said in an interview with 
The Nation that the prime minister should expect to achieve some 
fundamental short-term gains such as the reopening of border checkpoints 
and an agreement on stopping cross-border drug-smuggling.

Describing the visit as Thailand's last card, Kobsak said the fact 
Thailand had made the first move in visiting Burma meant it would 
"lessen our bargaining strength." Thaksin believes the visit will reduce 
tension and dispel mistrust, crucial to the resumption of normal border 
activities and the firming up of anti-drug-smuggling cooperation.

But Kobsak said Thaksin should think of long-term solutions rather than 
short-term sentiment with regard to his visit. He said the prime 
minister's visit should certainly reduce tension between the two 
countries, but added: "I am doubtful if this will be sustained."

He said that since Thai-Burmese tensions were the result of internal 
problems in Burma, Thailand should aim to help Burma address the root 

"If Thai leaders meet the junta leaders while ignoring 80 to 90 per cent 
of the population [who voted for Suu Kyi] it may leave feelings of 
distrust among the Burmese people," Kobsak said. He then cited the 
visits of other Asean leaders such as Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, 
Abdulrrahman Wahid of Indonesia and Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok 
Tong, who have all sent delegates to meet Suu Kyi. He said the absence 
of such a gesture from his schedule would send the wrong signal to the 
international community, especially after the more balanced engagement 
policy pursued by previous governments.

Meanwhile, Thaksin yesterday remained unperturbed by the latest Burmese 
news report suggesting that he might not get a red-carpet welcome in 
Rangoon, saying he cared more for substance than for formality.

Thaksin said he believed that high-level talks with the Burmese leaders 
would eliminate problems between the two countries, including negative 
media reports from both sides.

The prime minister said an advance party preparing his visit had 
confirmed that all agreements he would sign during the visit had been 

Thaksin was responding to the latest commentary by Burmese-language 
newspaper Myanma Ahlin suggesting he might not get a very warm welcome.

The daily paper on Saturday blamed some Thai officials and members of 
the military, as well as the Thai media, for creating misunderstanding 
and driving a wedge in ties between the two countries.

The author of the article pointed out that Thailand had portrayed Burma 
in a negative light in its school textbooks and films and repeated 
familiar charges about Thailand's support for Burmese anti-government 

The commentary charged that Lt-General Wattanachai Chai-muanwong, the 
regional army commander for northern Thailand, had given military 
support to the "drug-trafficking terrorist" Yawd Serk when he was under 
attack by the Burmese army during its offensive against the Shan ethnic 

Jeerawat Na Thalang


Bangkok Post: Premier to cement ties, fix relations

June 18, 2001

By Bhanravee Tansubhapol and Yuwadee Tunyasiri

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will cement ties with Cambodia and 
patch up relations with Burma when he launches the last leg of his visit 
to Thailand's neighbouring countries beginning today, officials and 
analysts said.

Government officials are confident the premier will fly from Phnom Penh 
directly to Rangoon tomorrow after fostering bilateral economic 
co-operation with Cambodia.

The two countries, represented by their foreign ministers, will sign 
memorandums of understanding on overlapping maritime claims and a 
blueprint for economic co-operation.

The economic blueprint is the first with a neighbouring country to 
develop border areas infrastructure, trade and investment, agriculture, 
industry and tourism. It will reflect a growing trust and confidence 
between the two governments in working together, a government official 

With the framework of co-operation to be put in place Cambodia would get 
the most benefits, the official said.

At the same time it would end duplication of assistance from various 
Thai government agencies, especially financial support, to Cambodia.

The trip to Burma tomorrow and Wednesday is seen as "a healing process" 
to return relations back to normal.

Burma rejected all co-operation proposed by Thailand from scholarship to 
fishery, except that in health care programmes. Rangoon has also banned 
the import of energy drinks and monosodium glutamate from Thailand.

Thai investors in Rangoon have been affected by soured relations and are 
hoping this high-level visit will help improve their business.

The most important part of Mr Thaksin's trip was rebuilding trust with 
Burma and seeking co-operation in the fight against drugs, an analyst 

The many reasons said to have caused relations to deteriorate include 
Burma's dissatisfaction over what it claims is Thai support for the Shan 
State Army; for not supporting Burma in the International Labour 
Organisation; allowing the Thai media to criticise Rangoon; and being 
the only Asean country which former premier Chuan Leekpai decided not to 

Sunai Phasuk, a researcher of Asian Forum for Human Rights and 
Development (Forum Asia), said although he was against Mr Thaksin's trip 
to Burma, he hoped he would be able to clear up misunderstandings with 

"Mistrust and suspicion has now reached its deepest point in relations 
in the last decade," he said.

Mr Sunai was worried Thailand might end up in a game plan set by Burma. 

"I don't know what Thailand has to offer in exchange for this trip," he 

At least Rangoon had sent a signal of its readiness to negotiate with 
Thailand by suspending verbal and media attacks on the government two 
weeks ago, and turning instead to the Thai media as a target.

In Rangoon, Mr Thaksin will witness the signing of a memorandum of 
understanding on drug co-operation by Thai and Burmese foreign 

Thailand expects the two countries will soon exchange drug suppression 

"The drug issue is a fundamental problem," an official said.

Thai-Burmese relations worsened after Mr Thaksin said in March that Mong 
Yawn was a production base for the methamphetamine pills plaguing 

His remark "made Burma lose face", another analyst said. The summit 
between leaders of the two countries was the only way to tackle the 

Mr Thaksin and Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai have both 
expressed confidence this visit would be able to clear up 
misunderstandings, which were "sensitive" issues between the two 

In the Burmese capital, the prime minister will hold talks with his 
Burmese counterpart Than Shwe, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, the first secretary of 
the State Peace and Development Council, and Thai businessmen.

Mr Thaksin said he would have a heart-to-heart conversation with the 
Burmese leaders.

There should be a hotline between the two countries so problems could be 
solved immediately, he said.

"I am going there to solve, not to create, problems," the prime minister 


Bangkok Post: Rivals agree to sign accords, build trust

June 18, 2001

By Wassana Nanuam

Thailand and Burma will sign a memorandum of understanding on drug 
suppression and a 21-point joint communique during Prime Minister 
Thaksin Shinawatra's visit, a military source said.

Mr Thaksin will be in Rangoon tomorrow and Wednesday.

In the communique, six points of which were proposed by Rangoon, Burma 
agreed to take part in a four-way drugs meeting in Kunming with China, 
Laos and Thailand.

The source said Burma rejected Thailand's proposal to set up two joint 
task forces, one for joint border defence and the other for drug 
suppression operations.

Burma proposed instead the two countries make use of existing mechanisms 
at all levels to peacefully solve problems.

The mechanisms include the township border committee (TBC), regional 
border committee (RBC) and joint boundary committee (JBC).

The JBC, which was responsible for border demarcation, was formerly 
co-chaired by deputy foreign ministers from the two countries.

Since Thailand currently does not have a deputy foreign minister, it 
would be represented by Pracha Gunakasem, adviser to the foreign 

Burma was not ready to agree on disputed border areas like Doi Lang in 
Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai, and Kuteng Nayong in Mae Sai district, 
Chiang Rai.

The communique just requires both sides to build mutual trust and 
respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial 

The source said Burma was very careful with the wording of the MOU and 
joint communique, leaving details on several issues for further 

In the joint communique, Burma wanted Thailand to support the 
construction of Myawaddy-Pa-an and Myawaddy-Tavoy roads to promote trade 
and tourism.

Burma also agreed to reopen border checkpoints at Mae Sai-Tachilek, Mae 
Sot-Myawaddy and Ranong-Kawthaung. "Burma refused to discuss fishery 
concessions. But Burma was expected to consider returning the 
concessions to Thailand after the opening of the Ranong-Kawthaung 
checkpoint," the source said.

Burma asked Thailand for educational support through the Asean 
University project and public health education, especially regarding HIV 
and Aids. It sought information on the V-1 Immunitor pill, claimed by 
its manufacturers to be a health product and distributed to Aids 
patients here by a charity foundation.

The MOU and joint communique were worked out in Rangoon by an advance 
team led by Gen Sommai Wichaworn, the armed forces chief-of-staff, Gen 
Vichit Yathip, chief of staff officers attached to the defence minister, 
and Krit Kanchanakunchorn, director-general of the Foreign Ministry's 
East Asian Affairs Department. The team visited Rangoon on Friday and 
Saturday and worked closely with Burma's Deputy Foreign Minister Khin 
Maung Win.			


The New light of Myanmar (SPDC): Those who daren't show their face - 18 

Friday, 15 June, 2001 

The shameless lies of traitors, ciphers and fugitives and BBC, VOA, RFA 
and  DVB, the radio stations under colonialists' influence and 
domination, have  become a monotonous story for all the people of 
Myanmar. Talking ill of all  the developments of Myanmar and her people 
with ulterior motive is their  regular job and their pleasure. 
However, time and again, we have to rebut their slanderous accusations, 
as  the foul air fanned by them has become intolerable for the people of 
the  surrounding areas. 

 BBC interviewed a nonentity, Dr Thein Lwin, and a Myanmar lady, Daw Tin 
Tin  Myaing, in its Myanmar and Global Affairs programme at 8.15 pm on 
30 May  2001. The interview itself had revealed that it was just a 
machination of  BBC. It was so ridiculous that when Daw Tin Tin Myaing 
never followed the  BBC's trend, it cut short of the interview with her. 
However, as Dr Thein  Lwin and BBC spoke with one voice, they played 
their own game, and made the  interview longer. 

 BBC started the programme with an introduction, stating that all would  
welcome the development of education standard in Myanmar and that at the 
same  time, the possibility should be assessed in this matter. BBC then 
asked Daw  Tin Tin Myaing, "Are there computers in schools?" Daw Tin Tin 
Myaing answered  that there were computers in schools, but they were 
kept safe during  blackouts; and that as there was rise in the power 
generation capacity of the  nation in January 2001, the schools were 
using computers.  
Then, BBC asked her the approximate number of computers installed at the 
 Institute of Education Training School (TTC). She said " Ar, the room 
is full  with computers, and I think about 30 or 40. Children are 
operating the  computers in the room. 

"  I wonder whether the interviewer had ignored all the principles of  
journalism when he heard her answer. When the trend of the interview did 
not  go as he wished it to go, the interviewer himself gave the answer. 
He said, "  espite the boost in power generation, it should be that 
electricity supply is  normal only at TTC. Now let's discuss about the 
schools outside Yangon which  are not within your reach." Then, BBC 
presented an introduction, saying that  the finding of Dr Thein Lwin, a 
doctorate in education field, and who had  served in Myanmar for many 
years, would be presented. 

 Here, BBC asked Dr Thein Lwin a leading question. ' Do you think that 
the  computer data education system can be implemented (in Myanmar) 
soon?" Dr  Thein Lwin said that it was possible only in the cities such 
as Yangon and  Mandalay, but impossible at schools in townships and 
villages; that there  were about one or two computers at schools in the 
cities; that such a small  number of computers were not enough for the 
students to pursue education  through computers; that in the land of 
ethnic peoples he had visited,  computers were never seen or heard of 
and that it was still much difficult to  adopt a computerized education 
system in the nation. 

 In this situation, the interviewer continued, saying, " Dr Thein Lwin 
does  not believe that Myanmar's education standard will be on a par 
with those of  the developed ASEAN nations within four years as stated 
by the Myanmar  Education Committee Chairman. However, do you believe it 
is possible, Daw Tin  Tin Myaing?" She answered, " Ar, yes...yes. In my 
estimations, it is  possible. Because of the situation in Myanmar during 
my visit to the country  in January 2001 was not the same as that of my 
previous visit to the country  in January 1999. I saw much progress 
there. It is sure that the education  sector is gaining development 
because in addition to the efforts of the  Education Department (the 
Ministry of Education), the parents, other persons  and teachers are 
also partaking in the task". When the interviewer heard her  answer, he 
asked her more questions continuously. " You mean only in cities?  Only 
at schools in Yangon? Only .....?" It might be that because his  
questions were irritating, Daw Tin Tin Myaing interrupted him and said 
that  at the schools in towns, personnel of the education sector were 
working with  high acceleration in accord with the projects; that the 
people were making  donations for the schools in rural areas as the 
people there were poor; and  that fund-raising festivals were also held. 

 As she gave the straight answer, the BBC interviewer began to show his 
ugly  face. 

" However, it seems that the people have no confidence in the education  
system of the nation. Do you think that the government can solve the 
problem  in the near future?" He asked her the question in the voice of 
great learned  person. Nevertheless, Daw Tin Tin Myaing countered his 
questions in a clever  way, saying that capable or incapable of solving 
the problem was a different  matter; that she had witnessed the efforts 
being made by the government; that  closing of schools had bad effects 
on the nation; that such situations were  over; that she had seen the 
significance in the education sector this year  due to the strenuous 
efforts; and that she thought that every sector of the  education sphere 
would be in order within three or four years. As his  interview with Daw 
Tin Tin Myaing didn't go well according to the scheme, he  made a long 
interview with Dr Thein Lwin or his saviour in a harmonious way  in 
order to realize his scheme. 

Here, I will point out only the essence of the interview.  
During the interview, Dr Thein Lwin said that the education development 
of  the nation was delayed because of the unsolved political problems; 
and that  as the education development was connected with history, 
culture, traditions  and language of the respective races as well as 
politics, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt  and officials should find the answer to the 
political problem first. This is  a brief account of the slanderous 
accusations made by the so-called education  expert against the 
education developments of the nation and her people. With  a view to 
enabling the entire people to find the answer, I have presented the  
true colours of the participants in the interview of BBC's regular 
programme  " the Myanmar and Global Affairs". In the programme, Daw Tin 
Tin Myaing, an  ordinary Myanmar lady, was only a stand-in, the 
so-called gentleman, Dr Thein  Lwin, was the main actor, and the BBC 
interviewer was the script writer, the  director as well as the 
producer. The main aim of the interview is to ruin  the Myanmar's 
education sector, to destroy the national solidarity, to  suppress the 
national spirit and to enslave the nation in accord with the  wish of 
global colonialists. 

If the innate nature of the three characters of the interview are 
studied, it  can be seen that Daw Tin Tin Myaing, who never forgets her 
identity as a  Myanmar women, sincerely spoke of Myanmar's education 
promotion programmes as  she had seen; and that Dr Thein Lwin who got 
the doctorate degree in the  former Soviet Union with the aid of the 
Myanmar government is a traitor who  had done nothing good in the 
interests of the Myanmar education sector,  living as a shirker, and is 
now plotting to undermine the nation and the  people. If I have to point 
out only the necessary facts to Dr Thein Lwin, it  is that though the 
sincere eyes of an ordinary citizen like Daw Tin Tin  Myaing can 
correctly and clearly see that the international standard  
all-round-education development programmes and the four-year national  
education promotion plan are not only in words or on paper, but are 
being  implemented in the practical education field, and that the eyes 
of Dr Thein  Lwin, who has lost his race, and whose eyes are being 
blinded by the dollars  under the domination of the colonialists, cannot 
see them. I would like to  say that I pity him. 

Is the Myanmar's education sector developing slowly or with high 
momentum?  Are all the states and divisions harmoniously implementing 
the sector in a  proportionate way? The answer is that international 
standard multi-media  teaching centres are being opened in the 
townships; that the e-education  systems, which receive the lectures 
sent by satellite data broadcasting  system through the learning 
centres, are available at the multi-media  teaching centres; and that in 
addition to these modern education facilities  other advanced learning 
and teaching facilities such as multi-media resource  centres, new 
century resource centres and e-libraries for all ages and  education 
levels are being set up in all the states and divisions the length  and 
breadth of the nation. But the fellow, Dr Thein Lwin, who seems to be a  
fugitive or an absconder, who has lost his national identity and who has 
 become a flatterer, has never known these education undertakings and  

 It is no wonder that a cipher like him is launching random and 
fabricated  accusations against Myanmar's education sector. I will 
record his  perpetrations for our future generations. The radio 
interview of the Myanmar  and global affairs programme of BBC was 
reported at 8.15 pm on 30 May 2001.  All the people of Myanmar, who have 
clear outlook, know that the twisted  interview is a conspiracy of the 
BBC and Dr Thein Lwin the cipher under the  influence of global 
colonialist group. They are trying to obstruct and  disturb all the 
interests and progress of the Myanmar and her people and to  launch 
slanderous accusations against them. And the Myanmar people also know  
that it has no essence nor significance, but just a foolish interview. 
Thus,  the BBC interviewer and the interviewee, Dr Thein Lwin, have 
become the  persons who daren't show their face. 

Author : Pauk Sa 


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

To automatically subscribe to Burma's only free daily newspaper in 
English, send an email to:

To subscribe to The BurmaNet News in Burmese, send an email to


You can also contact BurmaNet by fax:

(US) +1(413)604-9008

(Japan) +81 (3) 4512-8143


Burma News Summaries available by email or the web

There are three Burma news digest services available via either email or 
the web.

Burma News Update
Frequency: Biweekly
Availability: By fax or the web.
Viewable online at 
Cost: Free
Published by: Open Society Institute, Burma Project

The Burma Courier 
Frequency: Weekly 
Availability: E-mail, fax or post.  To subscribe or unsubscribe by email 
Viewable on line at: http://www.egroups.com/group/BurmaCourier
Cost: Free
Note: News sources are cited at the beginning of an article. 
Interpretive comments and background
details are often added.

Burma Today
Frequency: Weekly
Availability: E-mail
Viewable online at http://www.worldviewrights.org/pdburma/today.html
To subscribe, write to pdburma@xxxxxxxxx
Cost: Free
Published by: PD Burma (The International Network of Political Leaders 
Promoting Democracy in Burma)


EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://igc.topica.com/u/?b1dbSX.b1CGhI
Or send an email To: burmanet-unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
This email was sent to: reg.burma@xxxxxxxxxx

T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail!