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BurmaNet News September 14, 1995

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The BurmaNet News: September 14, 1995

Noted in Passing:
He did seem a little surprised that I was so insistent about the 
views that a dialogue actually had to be a two-way discussion 
and that people, the leaders of it as well as the people who participated
in it, had to have some ability to state their views freely rather than be
precooked the way the National Convention as it is currently
set up looks to be. - Madeleine Albright on her discussion with Khin 

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14 September 1995

In a two-hour meeting with a key member of Burma's ruling
junta last week, US Ambassador Madeleine K. Albright
delivered a "clear and tough message". The following is a
transcript of the US envoy's answers to the media at a press
conference at the Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, on Sept 9.
You said your were modestly encouraged that the Slorc may
open a dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi. Was that something you
got out of your talks with Khin Nyunt (Slorc's intelligence
chief), is or that something that your heard elsewhere?
No, that I came out of talks with Khin Nyunt. I was pressing
for the beginning of a dialogue, and he said that in fact
they were considering such a dialogue, and this is the first
time that we have heard this kind of response on that point.
It is difficult to estimate the timing of it because, as you
know. I think it's hard to understandard fully the
decision-making process of Slorc, and Khin Nyunt said that
this would have to came after internal consultations within
other collective leadership. But that they were in fact
considering it, and I think that we will have to be watching
very carefully how this play out. I think the issue here is
that the telling Aung San Suu Kyi about this, she made very
clear that she is ready to have such a dialogue, and I think
the question is how rapidly it can take place and how this
collective decision-making process within the Slorc actually
happens. The reason that I say that we were encouraged
modestly about this is that this is the first time that this
kind of an indication has come from them. I don't want to
make too much of it, because I think that the process is one
that we'll have to watch, but do I think it is significant
that for the first time they have made such a statement.
Did you get a sense of what they might talk about if such a
dialogue were to take place? And secondly how that dialogue
might relate to the National Convention?
I think it's hard to say what they would talk about.
Presumably it would be the subjects that Aung San Suu Kyi is
interested in, which is to try to make sure that there is
better participation or any participation by the people of
Burma within the political process. The National Convention,
we discussed, and I indicated to him that I don't quite see
how a process which was dominated by the Slorc that were
personally selected by the Slorc rather than popularly
elected was exactly the right way to achieve a  democratic
process of any kind, and that to a great extent the National
Convention was a phony operation, that they needed to look
into so that it in some way could be part of the dialogue
where the people could participate.
But the problem here is that the Slorc doesn't seem to trust
its own people and Aung San Suu Kyi does.
What was his reaction (Khin Nyunt's) when you were so strong
about your when you were so strong about your reaction to the
Nation Convention, since they've (the Slorc) been really
lauding it as a good step forward?
You'll have to ask him. He did seem a little surprised that I
was so insistent about the views that a dialogue actually had
to be a two-way discussion and that people, the leaders of it
as well as the people who participated in it, had to have
some ability to state their views freely rather than be
precooked the way the National Convention as it is currently
set up looks to be.
You mentioned in your statement that both of you agreed
during the meeting this morning that the new resolution on
Burma should reflect accurately  the situation on the ground
here. What does it mean? Does its mean that previous
resolutions were not accurate to reflect the situation there?
And second, what was your impression after your visit to
Rangoon? Congressman (Bill) Richardson said after his second
or third visit that he found that the political and human
rights situations there were in regression, in general What's
your impression?
Let me say on the first part about the General Assembly
resolution, the resolutions that we have passed before, I
think, do in fact accurately reflect the situation on the
ground. The problem is that they have not been carried out is
the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, but the other parts of it
that would in fact make sure that human rights are honored
proerly to the Geneva Conventions, etcetera (have not).
I won't go through the resolution with you, but what we would
be most concerned about and will be pressing in the General
Assembly is the fulfillment of all parts of a new resolution
which I think would pretty much follow the lines of the
previous resolutions, but just make sure that they actually
are carried out.
I have not been to Rangoon before, but from what I have read,
there has not been a great deal of improvement in the human
rights situation. Clearly, releasing \Aung San Suu Kyi is an
important step, and releasing some other political prisoners
was an important step, but we have reason to believe that
other people have replaced them in the prisons or under
detention and that the human rights record of the Slorc as a
whole has not improved, plus the sense that I got is that
they have fully accepted the role that Aung San Suu Kyi
should play.
As I said in my statement, we were not demanding her release
so that she could just entertain visitors in her house. We
believe - and the General Assembly resolution made that clear
- was that she should be able to participate fully in the
political process. Until that happens, and until other
[political prisoners are released and proper human rights
standards are evident, than it will be impossible for us to
say that the Slorc is living up to its international
commitments or for the United States to have a fuller
relationship with the Slorc than it has now.
Given your descriptions on the convention, was there an
indication from either side that she (Aung San Suu Kyi) would
- or that she might - participate in that convention when it
reconvenes next month? Given your description, should she, in
fact? If she doesn't, is that some sort of failed benchmark
in Washington's view?
I think that there are a number of options that she for the
National Convention. I think that some members of her party
are clearly part of it. I think that they will have to make
that judgement for them. But in the discussions that we had,
she indicated that she did not think that the National
Convention was either national or a convention, and that it
would serve the purpose of political participation.
Aung San Suu Kyi may be freed, but she seem afraid to leave
the country in case she doesn't get to come back again. In
your discussions with Slorc, have they given an assurance
that she is free to leave the country to attend international
conferences and to assure that she will be able to return to
Burma? Secondly, has Slorc commented on Aung San Suu Kyi's
resumption of a political role in Burma right now since she
has been freed?
I think that Aung San Suu Kyi believes that she has a
tremendous amount of work to do in Burma itself; that her
main job is to be in Burma; and she counts, I believe, on
visits such as mine and by other people to keep the
international light shining on Burma, and that travelling
abroad is not her main job. Her main role - and she didn't
say this to me, I'm surmising this from the conversation - is
that she believes that getting out among her own people is
what she should be doing. She actually is pretty effective on
video, as was shown at the NGO-Bejing conference. I did not
discuss that subject with the Slorc.
As to the second part of your question, I think that they
(the Slorc) have not recognized the fact that she is more
than an ordinary women living in the capital, but that she is
the leader of the pro-democracy forces. They basically, I
think, are unwilling to admit that, and one of the message
that I brought to them - and one of the real purpose of my
trip - was to make clear to the Slorc that the United States
regards her as a very important political figure, and to show
solidarity with her so that they would recognized the fact
that she is a force, from our perspective and hers, who is
interested in national reconciliation and participation.
If I might say, the dual purposes of my trip were to deliver
a clear and tough message to the Slorc about what they had to
do in order to be a accepted again within the international
community; and secondly, to show this kind of support and
solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi in order to make sure that
she is seen as a very important political figure.

Can you say in what manner you urged the government to step
up efforts to eliminate opium cultivation and trafficking?
What was Khin Nyunt's reaction to your discussion of the
counter-narcotics work?
We basically believed that they just need to be more
effective and work with the UN as well as with various other
agencies to try to get a better grasp on what is clearly one
of the most difficult problems within the country. It is very
intimately involved with various ethnic disputes, and we
recognized the difficulty of the problem. I did not speak
very clear that we expected them to step up up their efforts
and be more cooperative and understand the importance of the
plague internationally that the narco-trafficking brings.

And what was his reaction to that?
I think, on the whole, they were first of all pleased that I
had one positive things to say, which was that we appreciated
this cooperation in terms of the surveys. They did not
dispute the fact that more had to be done, but we did not
spend a large portion of our talking about this.
The main reason for my trip to Burma as far as they were
concerned was to say that we wanted the dialogue with Aung
San Suu Kyi started. That was the main thrust of our
discussion. We spent an awful lot of time on that.

Following-up on the issue of the UN resolution. When you said
that there are many other steps that haven't yet been taken.
Do you think that the new resolution will come up with some
sort of time frame for the Slorc to proceed towards all those
I can't speak to that yet. I think this is one of the things,
as we go into the United Nations General Assembly now, as we
forulate the resolution, we will gather, speak to other
countries about the possibility of making it more specific
and having more time frames. I think that the important part
here is that, it is my sense that more and more countries
believe that something has a grate deal when I get back.
As to the importance of having the Burmese- the Slorc and the
Burmese people- have the ability to move the democratic
process forward, UN resolutions are a work in progress. We
spend a lot of time formulation the exact language and it
it's very hard to predict exactly how they come out. The main
purpose of them, especially the General Assembly ones, is to
really target the public eye or the international eye on a
problem, and we will do that when I get back.

Can you comment on the Asean policy of constructive
engagement. They've come out to say that constructive
engagement has contributed to the freedom of Aung San Suu
Well, I think that, this is a matter of very careful
calibration in terms of how much people engage and for what
purpose. I think it is very hard when you have a number of
countries operating to make everybody have exactly the same
level of engagement or of relations. I would only like to
repeat that I would hope that the Asean nations, or other
conuntries, that theynit in any way misinterpret my trip as
some warming trend. But more to see it as a way that we
wanted to make absolutely sure that a high-level visit- in
which the President was very interested- would make
absolutely clear that while we saw the release of Suu Kyi as
positive, that it was not enough, and that they had to look
at their whole human rights record as well as the other
issues that I mentioned.

This transcript was made avaliable to The Nation by the
United States Information Service, Bangkok. (In a two-hour
meeting with a key member of Burma's ruling junta last week,
US Ambassador Madeleine K. Albright delivered a "clear and
tough message". The following is a transcript of the US
envoy's answers to the media at a press conference at the
Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, on Sept 9.(TN)

September 9, 1995        Story: Nick Cater News Ltd Asia Bureau

[The  Advertiser  is  one  of  the  local  newspapers  for  Adelaide,  South

He is known as the Pablo Escobar of Asia. But is the world's biggest heroin
dealer about to retire ?

NAME: Chang Chifu aka Khun Sa
BORN: 1934 in the Shan State to a Shan mother and a Chinese father.
EDUCATION: Basic monastic.
CAREER: Became an outlaw at the age of 16. Entered the  opium  business  in
1963  while commanding a unit under the command of the Burmese Army. Jailed
from 1969 to 1974  and  released  in  exchange  for  two  kidnapped  Soview
doctors.  Set  up  the separatist Shan United Army in northern Thailand but
forced across the border to Homong in 1982. Named himself president in late
HOBBIES: Drinking, disco dancing, karaoke

        Time may be running out, at last, for Asia's  most  notorious  drug
worlord,  Khun Sa - the rebel identified as Australia's biggest supplier of
heroin. The man once branded by a United  States  diplomat  as  "the  worst
enemy  the  world  has"  says  he  is retiring after being squeeezed by the
Burmese Government Army and from opponents within his own ranks.

But intelligence sources are sceptical that the world has seen the last  of
Khun  Sa  -  a dictatorial, charismatic 61 year old who commands one of the
best equipped rebel armies in Asia.

"He's like a mad dog." one Thai intelligence source says. "You can put  him
in a box but you don't expect him oto stop biting."

For  two  decades,  KHun  Sa  has  been  the unchallenged ruler of the Shan
fiefdom in Burma's wild north east, where fields of opium poppies  grow  as
far as the eye can see, and beyond.

It is the heart of the Golden triangle - the border region straddling Burma
Thailand  and  Laos,  where  65  percent  of the world's opium is grown and
processed. It is by far the largest source of heroin bound for Australia and  
Khun  Sa dominates the market.

A  year  ago, in one of Australia's biggest seizures of hard drugs, Customs
officers discovered 120 kg of herion,  aboard  a  Thai  fishing  vessel  in
Darwin  Harbor, which intelligence reports said had come from Khun SA. " He
doesn't  exaactly  stamp his trademark on  it but there are ways of telling
where it came from, " one Australian anti-narcotics officer says.

Khun Sa, a flamboyant  and skilful self publicist, describes himself  as  a
freedom  fighter  rather  than  a  drug baron, saying he is fighting for an
independent Shan State.

He claims that he only "taxes" opium  traffickers  and  does  not  grow  it
But  in  the US, where he has been indicted for trying to export 1.6 tonnes
of herion between 1986 and 1988,  Drug  Enforcement  Agency  officers  have
labelled him the world's most wanted drug trafficker - the Pablo Escobar of

His  wealthe  and influence is apparent in his prosperous headquarters town
of Homong, in burma's Shan State, close to the border with Thailand.

It is a thriving market town of 20,000  people,  with  good  roads  lit  at
night,  a school, Buddhist monastery and modern hospital. There are hotels,
discos and karaoke bars.

Khun Sa himself is said to be fond of a drink and enjoys disco dancing.  He
is  driven around the town in a ute, armed bodyguards packed into the rear.
His 15,000 strong private Mong  Tai  Army  boasts  a  formidable  array  of
weapons,  bought  in the world arms bazaar using profits from drug exports.
There are Russian and  chinesemade  AK47s,  American  M16  assault  fifles,
grenade launchers, mortars and 50 calibre anti aircraft guns.

Late  last  year,  Thai  border police seized a consigment of sophisticated
surface-to-air missiles believed destined for Khun Sa's forces.

People who have met  him  describe  Khun  Sa  as  charming  and  witty.  He
describes  himself as "happy go lucky", not at all the "prince of darkness"
his opponents have labelled him.

His adopted Shan name translates as "prosperous prince"  -  an  appropriate
tag,  given  the  hundreds of millions of dollars he is said to have reaped
from the drug trade.

A wanted man in Thailand, Burma and China, he claims to  have  evaded  more
than 40 attempts on his life.

Born  as Chang Chifu in 1934 to a Shan mother and father , Khun Sa received
only a scant education before becoming an outlaw at the age of 16. He began
trading opium in 1963 as a commander of a unit under  the  command  of  the
Burmese  army  based  in the poppy growing region near Loi Maw mountain, in
the northern Shan State.

But he was arrested in 1969 under suspicion of having secret dealings  with
rebel  groups. His release in 1974 was in exchange for two kidnapped Soview
doctors held hostage by the rebels.

Khun Sa took to the jungle, establisheng a base fo his Shan United Army  in
north-west  Thailand. But his blatant drug dealing was an embarrassment for
the Thais, who forced him back into Burma in  January,  1982.  Three  years
later,  Khun  Sa's  SUA merged with the Tai Revolutionary Council forces of
veteran Shan independence fighter Moh Hong, forming the MTA.

In december, 1993, he convened a Shan "parliament", announcing  himself  as
president as well as commander-in-chief of the army. But, despite the NTA's
firepower,  Khun  SA's  forces  now  find themselves on the back foot after
aconcerted 18 month assault by forces of Burma's ruling State Law and Order
Restoration Council.

For SLORC, the attack on Khun Sa's empire has little to do with heroin. The
regime is more concerned about removing one of the last significant  pocket
of insurgency while, at the same time, currying favor with the US.

Meanwhile,  the tightening of Thai border controls is restricting KHun Sa's
suppplies of arms.

And there are reports of large-scale defections from  the  MTA  as  younger
Shan rebels grow impatient for independence and disillusined with KHun Sa's
obsession with the drug trade.

It  was  against  that background that KHun Sa announced late last month he
would be stepping down as army chief and handing over to a  respected  Shan
nationalist. Few observers are convinced by the manoeuvre, nowever.

One  Western  source  in  Bangkok  compares Khun Sa's retirement to that of
China's Deng Xiaoping in 1989 - he may nave formally  left  office  but  he
still wields the power.

"It's all smoke and mirrors. Nothing has really changed," the sources says.

Even  if  KHun  Sa falls from power, there is little hope it will make much
differene to the 2500 tonnes of  opium  flowing  each  year  from  northern

With the trade worth hundreds of millions of dollars, experts believe other
Golden Triangle warlords will be quick to take his place.

September 14, 1995

RANONG - Burmese authorities have lodged a protest with Thai
officials alleging that Thai fishermen are poaching in
Burma's territorial waters.

The protest letter said 10 Thai trawlers had been found
illegally fishing in Burmese waters despite Rangoon's order
banning fishing and closing the border.

Somorn Losawatkul, a provincial fisheries official, said he
received the letter on Monday and warned the fisheries
associations and their members of the danger of illegally
entering Burmese waters.

He said 59 trawlers had been seized by Burmese authorities
since the beginning of the year. Twos were apprehended last
Friday in Burmese waters.

The Burmese government cancelled fishing concessions awarded
to Thai companies and closed the border in Ranong province
after the killing of several Burmese crewmen on a Thai

A source said police were searching for another six people
suspected of involvement in the killing. The vessel's captain
has already surrendered to police.

Chet Thanawat, a provincial official, said fisheries
officials would also try to take action against Surin
Rathusombut, the owner of the vessel.

He said the case would be handed over to public prosecutors
within a few days, after Burmese officials forwarded some
important documents. (TN)

September 14, 1995                     Yindee Lertcharoenchok

PHUKET - Senior Asean officials yesterday discussed possible
procedures by which non-Southeast Asian countries could
associate themselves with the grouping's 1976 Treaty of Amity
and Cooperation, a senior Thai Foreign Ministry official

No consensus was reached at yesterday's meeting on whether
the Manila Protocol would be used to allow countries to
become partners to the treaty, said M R Thep Devakula,
permanent secretary to the Foreign Ministry.

The protocol was introduced at the Asean summit in Manila in
1987 as an instrument to allow Papua New Guinea join the
treaty. The country became an associate in 1989.

Several non-Southeast Asian countries, such as Australia, New
Zeland and Russia, have expressed interest in the treaty;
which calls for the settlement of conflicts in the region by
peaceful means.

Some Asean members believe that Manila Protocol would serve
as a good model, while others want to introduce a new
protocol to accommodate the interested nations, Thep said.

The members wanting new guidelines were concerned that
allowing countries outside Southeast Asia access to the 1976
treaty would enable them to interfere with their regional
affairs. They were especially worried about the settlement of
conflicts and the potential for diluting unity and solidarity
among countries in the region, Thep said.

They wanted a new protocol which would clearly define the
status of new associate members.

Indonesia has prepared a separate protocol to accommodate
interested countries and senior Asean  officials agreed to
allow legal experts examine the implications to the treaty
and the protocol.

Thep said Asean countries were still discussing the
appropriate means which would clearly define the non-
participation od new associate members into the settlement of
regional conflicts, as they were not party to the interests
of the region as a whole.

Asean officials also agreed yesterday to speed up the
realization of a Treaty for a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons
Free Zone and to have their heads of state sign the paper
before their Bangkok summit in December.

The treaty, which has been in discussion since 1976, was an
Asean concept for Southeast Asia to be a Zone of Peace,
Freedom and Neutrality.

The officials agreed that member countries should try every
possible means to finalize the treaty, which has gone through
seven drafts, at the earliest possible moment. They hope it
would be ready for signing by Asean leaders before the summit
on Dec 14-15.

Asean has a strong hope that eventually all 10 Southeast
Asian countries- the seven Asean members and Burma, Cambodia
and Laos- would also sign.

Recently, senior Indonesian officials visited the three
countries to disuss and exchange views on the treaty. Thep
quoted the Indonesian delegation as telling the meeting
yesterday that three countries had agreed to the treaty in

Indonesia wanted to accelerate the treaty's completion and
would host another meeting of an Asean working group
concerned with the treaty later this month. (TN)

September 14, 1995

CHINA'S Yunan Machinery Import and Export Company (YMC)
delivered four ferries to Burmese authorities on Tuesday in
Rangoon as part of a larger order of boats.

The four motor-driven boats, two triple-deckers and two
double-deckers, were built in China for Burma's Inland River
Transport Authority, Radio Rangoon said in a broadcast
monitored here.

Burma's intelligence chief Lieutenant General Khin Nyunt, YMC
President Wu Wen Kuan and Rangoon-based Chinese diplomats
attended the delivery ceremony, the radio said.

This was the second group of passenger ferries to arrive in
Burma after Rangoon signed a deal in June 1993 to purchase 42
water vehicles for $30 million from the Chinese company,
according to the report.

So far, YMC has delivered a total of 14 cehicles to Burma,
all of which are for use on domestic routes, it added.

China, one of the largest investors in Burma, was the first
country to recognise the Rangoon's military regime, which
took power after a bloody coup in September 1988, in which
thousands of pro-democracy protesters died. (BP)

September 14, 1995

IT  has been two months now since Burmese authorities
released their most famous political prisoner. The Rangoon
military junta still seems confused over Aung San Suu Kyi, as
well as the general problem of moving ahead to determine the
coming shape of Burma. There need not be such hesitation from
the regime, as it strives to enter the international arena
after many years of self-isolation. Clearly, the State Law
and Order Restoration Council (Slorc) must negotiate the
nation's political disorder with its citizens. Mrs Suu Kyi ,
who represents a large number of Burmese, has an important
stake in the country's future. Slorc must talk with her, and
the sooner the better.

The recent visits to Burma by our Deputy Prime Minister
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and the American UN Ambassador
Madeleine Albright highlighted the confusion Slorc has
caused. But the contrasting visits also showed the necessity
for dialogue between the regime and Mrs Suu Kyi. Gen Chavalit
claimed the Nobel Peace Prize winner should not be given
important time to try to make this point. Mrs Albright
claimed Mrs Suu Kyi is important, and she met the opposition
leader at her Rangoon home. Despite the different styles, one
things was clear after the two visits: there is no way to
ignore Mrs Suu Kyi.

This, in a nutshell, is the dilemma Slorc faces. Whether
imprisoned or free, and even when officially snubbed, Mrs Suu
Kyi is Burma's most vital political figure. Until the
military leaders come to terms with this stark fact, Burma
cannot enjoy internaional respect nor political stability.
>From diplomatic acceptance to foreign investment, Rangoon
faces opposition, obstruction and protest if it does not
settle its internal political affairs. Even its eventual
membership in Asean will arouse distaste in many quarters,
not least among the Thai population.

Mrs Suu Kyi and her supporters have been extremely wise to
remain lowkeyed since her unexpected- and welcome- release
from house arrest on July 10. Likewise, the Slorc leaders
have prudently loered the volume of harsh rhetoric and
trimmed back the most visible excesses of their anti-dem-
ocratic campaigns. This has not yet solved any of the serious
political problems in Burma. It has, however, created an
atmosphere for serious and sincere disussions. There is
clearly a window of opportunity for political dialogue in

The Burmese military leaders clearly fear democracy. The
reason for such apprehension is the obvious one that the army
would have to reduce its political role in the government.
Democratic opposition leaders including Mrs Suu Kyi have
stated openly ther is room for the army in the Burma of the
future. The May, 1990 elections- run by the army and widely
praised for their honesty and fairness- saw no challenge or
threat to the military. Indeed, it is remarkable in Burma
that the army retains the violence it has displayed against
the population since 1962.

Slorc is clearly at a crossroads. Mrs Albright spoke for many
nations and potential investors and visitors to Burmese last
week, when she told Gen Khin Nyunt of the regime that his
policies "fall far short of what is needed" for improved
relations and international acceptance. Rangoon can gain
respect only by folloeing through on its release of Mrs Suu
Kyi. If the regime fails to negotiate the democrats, it will
face continued sanctions, criticism and lack of foreign
investment. The possibility of another violent uprising by
democratic supporters always looms throughout Burma as well.

As Gen Chvalit accidentally made clear, Mrs Suu Kyi has an
important role to play in Burma's future. Foreign governments
including Thailand must continue to encourage Slorc to move
forward. It ignores the peaceful and informed political
opposition at its own severe peril. The international honours
well as the obvious sup[port by a large number of Burmese,
makes reconciliation the most important task which Slorc

The political future of Burma can only be decided by the
citizens of that nation. But equally clearly, the military
dictaorship must end. Slorc's very name indicates its major
task ended when "order" was restored in Burma after the 1988
turbulence. Today, the country is at peace. It can remain
that way if all Burmese are invited to meaningful discussions
about its future shape. To this end, Slorc should invite Mrs
Suu Kyi to talks aimed at national reconciliation. (BP)