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BurmaNet News, #239

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------------------------ BurmaNet ------------------------
"Appropriate Information Technologies, Practical Strategies"

The BurmaNet News: September 27, 1995

Noted in Passing:
The example of resumed fighting in Karenni areas and other ethnic 
areas show the ceasefire agreement does not mean absolutely that 
peace is returned to Burma. And it also means there is not enough 
safety for the refugees to return back to their native villages which 
are deeply situated inside Burma.  -  Ven.Vongsa Pala, Chairman, 
Mon National Relief Committee (quoted in M0N INFORMATION 

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[Feel free to suggest more areas of coverage]

[Forwarded by the Shan Herald News Agency]

Muangmai, 22. September 1995

Despite their resounding victory over Wa onslaught on Tuesday, the Shan leaders
said they wanted none other than peace and reconciliation with their brethren
whom they had been fighting against since the latter's ceasefire agreements with
the Rangoon government in 1989.

More details about the battle were received by S.H.A.N. as Khun Duan Saengkham,
the Central Executive Committee member of the Shan State Restoration Council,
gave the above comment.

According to the official statement made this morning, the Was began shelling
the Shan firebases in Hintang from 06:10 to 09:00 local time followed by human
wave attacks by 1200 strong troops until 13:30. Though they failed to take the
main stronghold, the attackers managed to capture a hill connecting Hintang with
a minor firebase. It was later taken back by the Shans' 23rd Battalion under the
command of Kowngli in a bloody 20-minute long counter attack. They claimed to
capture 1.57 mm recoilless rifle, 12 M-22 automatic rifles and 2 M-16 automatic
rifles among others. The Was' casualties were estimated as at least 30 killed
and 100 wounded. Their own losses were 6 killed and 51 wounded. Confirmation
from the Wa or Thai sources are not available.

"We are proud of our men but not of the victory," Khun Duan told S.H.A.N. . "No
matter who wins or loses, it is quite clear the real winner won't be either them
(the Was) or us."

September 18, 1995

Tel. (416) 444-0365  
Fax. (416) 499-3066


Today, September the 18th, 1995, marks the seven full years
of the undeserved slavery of the Burmese people under the
Burma Army-led military regime's total dictatorship which has
been ruling the country by the firing power of guns alone.

Seven years ago today, we, all the people of Burma except a
handful of lackeys and parasites of the former ruling Burma
Socialist Program Party Government, had risen against it, by
paying thousands of civilian lives, but were defeated by the
coup led by Gen. Saw Maung of the Burma Army.  Since then,
the army leaders, under the self given name " State Law and
Order Restoration Council " or S.L.O.R.C, has shown no sign
of releasing the country from their tight grip.

In these seven years since 1988, this military regime has
committed untold crimes against the country, cheated the
people by means of a general election and a following national
convention, and played "divide and rule" with the ethnic
minority peoples.  All these attempts have clearly indicated
that it has been doing everything to stay on in power,
devouring all the national wealth without restraint.  Under
these conditions, the ordinary citizens' sufferings have become
unbearably miserable.  The public morality has severely
deteriorated under open bribery, grave corruption and the
naked abuse of power.  The military also continues arresting
those who murmur their displeasure of these situations. 
Mostly, students, writers, artists and intellectuals still fill the
jails in today's Burma.  But the peasants, 80 % of Burma's
population, suffer the oppression most.  Every year in harvest
season, hundreds of thousands of farmers are arrested in lower
Burma for not selling their grains to the government at the
extremely low prices set by the Army.  Unpaid compulsory
labour is commonplace both in towns and countryside forced
at the whim of army detachments.

It is true the regime has one-dimensional achievements of
military success and cease-fire deals over ethnic minority
rebels.  But the privatization of national wealth only to
themselves and creations of new jobs in collaboration with
some opportunistic elements of the international business
community has even widened the class polarization between
them and the rest of the country.  Civilians remain without
rights while soldiers are over-privileged.  People have become
second class citizens under military officers and soldiers.

As these conditions continue, the struggle for Democracy in
Burma also continues.  Though very slow and paying huge
prices, the forming of the national opposition side, at both
fronts, domestic and international, is steadily taking shape. 
The international awareness of the magnitude and seriousness
of Burma issue is also growing.  The regime has already sown
seeds of its own self destruction by opening the doors of the
country.  On the other hand, the people, most noticeably,
students, have gained more experience through their past
struggles.  The Burmese popular leader, Aung San Suu Kyi,
also is free now and has started cautiously trying to regroup
the pro-democracy forces without scaring SLORC.

SLORC must be made victim of its own success.  Fight back
for all our freedoms we all rightfully enjoyed before, by using
both tactics, active confrontation on all equal footings and
passive resistance at unfavourable encounters.  Our
assumption, based on our past fighting experience against the
military, is that it is vital to build the national opposition side
stronger through a genuine solidarity, embracing all elements
of revolution and honestly redressing our own mistakes. 
Above all, we must draw an entirely new and overall general
strategy to liberate the country and to rout militarism once and
for all.


Concentrated between Burma and Thailand, there are an estimated 8 million 
Mons in the world today. Yet, their rights often go unrecognized. Like 
many indigenous peoples of this region, for the past forty years the 
central government in both Rangoon and Bangkok have ignored and attempted 
ethnocide of the Mon people -- who were the orignial inhabitants in the 
Burmese-Thai region. 

The Mon language is a distant relative of the Khmer (Cambodia) langauge 
group, having no similarities with Burmese and the Burmese alphabet is 
based on the Mon alphabet. 

After successive waves of Burman and Thai immigrations from the north in 
the last milenia, and after repeated attacks the kingdom of the peaceful 
Mons was defeated in 1757 and the higher culture taken as war booty to 
upper Burma by the Burmese king and many hundred thaunsands of Mon had 
been facing genocide. Meanwhile, in Thailand Mons were given speical 
areas to live and found sympathetic favor under the Thai king, himself a 
descendent of the Mons, mostly in areas around Bangkok's main river.

Today, however, the situation is radicaly different with assimilation 
rampant on both sides of the border. Centralization and capitalism are 
working hand in hand to annihilate all indigenous peoples. A planned gas 
pipeline from Burma's Gulf of Martaban will dissect Monland on its way 
into energy-strapped Thailand, and so foreign policy in the era of 
"constructive engagement" does not favor the Mon people. 

The refugee situation is increasing due to forced labor on "infrastruc- 
ture" projects in the area, such as the gas pipeline and the 110 miles 
long dead Ye-Tavoy railway construction. Villages regularly undergo 
forced  relocation while harrassment, violence and pillaging continue 
under SLORC's reign of terror.  One of the biggest problems for the Mon 
people is recieving outside  information and spreading out inside 
information to international  communities. 
Approximately 50-60% of the Mon people cannot read or write in Burmese, 
and less are able to use English. Thus access to much information is 
prohibitive, especially about health care, social, politics and inter-
national news. This is in addition to strict censorship controls and 
added ethnic suppression by the Burmese junta.  
  The New Mon State Party  (NMSP):
  Fighting against Burmese military junta  by both arm struggle and 
  political activities;( Recently reached agreement for ceasefire with
  Burmese military junta (SLORC)
  Mon National Relief Committee MNRC (MNRC):      
  Working for Mon  refugees in the  Thai- Burma border; 
  Add; GPO. Box.1983 Bangkok 10501, Thailand.
  Committee for Publicity of People Struggle in Monland (CPPSM): 
  Mon non-government organization.
  Add; GPO.Box. 227, Bangkok 10501 Thailand

                                     18th September,  1995.
Today marks the 7th anniversary of the suppression of the demonstrations 
by the people of Burma who peacefully asked for democracy.  These 
demonstrations were broken by the SLORC by firing their guns, killing 
many thousands of innocent people.  
 At this time the people were calling for justice,  peace and freedom 
from repression.  The people who resisted the dictatorship strongly and 
bravely demanded democracy. 
 Now in the current situation the SLORC continues to misuse their power, 
to ignore the desires of the people and only bullies them with their 
weapons.   All the nationalities within the Union of Burma always have 
to live under the military dictatorship.  
   From the time of September 18 1988 when it seized power, the SLORC has 
   never worked to change their practice.  Their only work has been for 
   themselves in order to hold onto their own power -- for the benefit of 
   only one group.   Instead the people have expressed their wish for 
   government by the people -- democracy -- but the SLORC is  holding their 
   bogus National Convention to draw up their constitution that intends 
   only to enshrine their own state power.   
   Each of our organizations urges the SLORC to urgently stop bullying the 
   people and clinging onto state power.  It must work for the people's 
   welfare. We also ask for the international community's continued serious 
   pressure to bring about change in Burma through all possible means, 
   including diplomatic, business, and all political measures. 
   We respectfully vow to join together with people of all nationalities 
   to work to uplift the morale of the Union of Burma, to bring the 
   dictatorship to an end and give rise to the seeds of democracy.  
   - Overseas Mon Young Monks Union (OMYMU)
   - Overseas Mon National Students' Organization (OMNSO)
   - All Burma Students' League  (ABSL)- India,
   - All Burma Students' League (ABSL) - Thailand 
   - National League for Democracy - Youth (NLD)-  Thailand


Co-ordinating committee for Mon Unity League will hold a convention in 
early 1996, in Mon State, near the Thai-Burma border.The convention is to 
bring together representatives of various Mon Organisatoion and 
individuals who have taking part in Mon National Affairs. The main aims 
and objectives of the convention are to bring unity (unity and diversity) 
find the solutions the problems, share experiences and find ways and 
means how volunteers can be more effevtive in promoting Mon National 
The majority of Mon people have been deprived of liberty and have never 
exercised their rights. They have been living under dictatorial rule for 
many decades.  The Mon Unity hope to reverses this trend by bringing in 
exercised their rights. They have been living under dictatorial rule for 
many decades.  The Mon Unity hope to reverses this trend by bringing in 
genuine Democracy and liberty which will usher in lasting peace and 
prosperity to the Mon people and all people of Myanmar.
The Co-ordinationg committee of the Mon Unity League would like to take 
this opportunity to extend formal invitation to various Mon Organisation.
intellectuals and individuals who have devoted a great deal of their time 
and resources in furthering the Great Mon Cause.  To make the preparation 
task of the convention easier we would now like you to contact us as soon 
as possible, so that a formal invitation can be extended to your address.
                             Coordination Committee, Mon Unity League(MUL)
   Mon Unity League,
   Nai Hongsa (Deputy secretary of New Mon State Party)
   Contact phone and fax numbers are as follows:
   New Mon State Party headquarters, Thai-Burma border.
   Nai Phisarn (Chairman of Mon Information Service)
   Phone & Fax (662)4107844
   Mon Youth Community
   PO Box 11, Ratburana Bangkok 10140 Thailand
   Phone & Fax (662) 4286232


To	Mr.Ruprecht von Arnim
	United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Date: September 5, 1995

Dear Sir,
	The New Mon State Party ( NMSP ) has signed a ceasefire agree-
ment with SLORC, the military regime in Burma, at the end of June.

	Because of the prolonged civil war between the successive central
governments and ethnic nationalities armed forces, the local inhabitants
have suffered from the persecution of Burmese troops such as forced
relocation, forced labour, press-ganged for porterage to be used as mine
defectors and abuse of women porters. Even though those local inhabitants
have escaped systematic persecution to the Thai-Burma border, they have
recieved lack of protection from Thailand, and its governments also
barred the international community from offering possible protection and
assistance under the recognition of "refugee status".

	In view point of our relief committee, the NMSP had to sign cease-
fire agreement because of the outside Thailand pressure and inside
SLORC inhumane treatments to Mon community. The example of resumed 
fighting in Karenni areas and other ethnic areas show the ceasefire 
agreement does not mean absolutely that peace is returned to Burma. And
it also means there is not enough safety for the refugees to return back
to their native villages which are deeply situated inside Burma, in the
current situations. However, because of the ceasefire, the refugees must
be repatriated to Burma side of the border in coming dry season and we
would like those refugees who fled persecution to be repatriated under
secure conditions and it should be voluntary according to the established
international principles.

	Therefore, the MNRC has plan to repatriate Mon refugees to the
areas close to the border and if the situation becames unsafe because of
fighting, they could flee back into Thailand again in easily. We hope
that in the future, if the ceasefire holds, that the refugees can return
to their native areas at a later date. 

	To ensure for the safety of the refugees before, during and 
after repatriation, it must need a proper independent monitoring body.
As we hope, the most suitable international organization to establish
a proper independent monitoring body is your Bangkok branch UNHCR. We
would like you to consider this. We think only the UNHCR monitoring can
provide enough safety for the future of Mon refugees, provision for
adequate cross-border re-settlement relief assistance and other com-
munity reconstruction assistance as well. Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Sd/- Wongsa Pala
( Ven.Vongsa Pala)
Chairman, Mon National Relief Committee ( MNRC )


Request for the international community in repatriation of Mon refugees.

	Since the New Mon State Party (NMSP) has agreed for a ceasefire
agreement with SLORC, the MNRC hopes there is no more fighting in Mon
territory, but nobody can predict on the foreseen human rights violations
that may eventually be committed by SLORC. The accounts given by refugees
MNRC has recieved to the different refugee camps tell they have escaped
from their native villages because of the systematic persecution of
successive Rangoon military regimes.

	Even though the Thai government's policy towards the Burmese
refugees is a strict one, some Thai autorities have sympathetic conside-
ration on Mon refugees and they were allowed to stay in Thai territories.
Under the strict policy, lack of protection and limited aid allowance
to them, the Mon refugees have taken haven for five years in Thai terri-
tories, after the Burmese troops attacked and occupied the NMSP head-
quarters in Three Pagoda Pass since 1990. The Mon refugees had to pass
hard experiences because of perpetual relocations by Thai autorities
in previous times. Even when the Thai autorities offered us the lack
of protection in their soil, which does not meet international standards,
anyhow we express our thankfulness for them.

	Thai government permitted the international aid agencies to help
our refugees to survive. Since 1990, after Mon refugee camps were set
up in Thailand, many Mon local inhabitants and other nationalities have
consistently taken refuge in Mon refugee camps after they abandoned and 
escaped from their native places because of abuses by Burmese troops.

	According to NMSP leaders who participated in the ceasefire
agreement, the SLORC has promised  to discontinue it's systematic 
persecution, it might be safe for refugees to reside in Burma. In the
resettlement process we plan to resettle those refugees in seven areas
close to the border where it is easier to flee into Thailand if the
situation in Burma looks unsafe or the fighting takes place in Mon
areas again. Most of the areas are under the control of NMSP and its
military faction. The MNRC hopes, if the resettlement sites are safe
and land for growing crops is available, some immigrant families will
also join in. 

	But those Mon people who fled from the systematic persecution
need the repatriation under the protection of international refugee 
principles. In the repatriation process we request for the  international
community as an independent monitoring body for the repatriation because
we would like to ensure the following points.

1. The refugees must have cross border assistance for one year or
    until they can subsist on their own.
2. The refugees must reside in safe areas where no human rights violations
   will be committed by any group.
3. The refugees must have safe haven and flee into Thai territory if the
   fighting in Burma occured again and possible assistance of the inter-
   national NGOs must be permitted.
4. The refugees shall need short term community construction aid and
   longterm development aid from the international community.

To ensure the mentioned points necessary for the refugees, the interna-
tional community should participate in the repatriation. Points mentioned
do not mean that we always carry refugees to Thailand or refuse to
return back deep inside Burma. If Burma returns to genuine peace and 
safety for all the civilian population, those people will return back
to their native places from where they originally had to escape.

For the whole opinion of MNRC, it released a suggestive statement on
June 29, 1995 by inviting the international community to participate in
the repatriation process of Mon refugees. The statemen is included. We
also adressed an invitation for Bangkok Branch UNHCR to consider and
participate in this repatriation process. The letter is included.

In conclusion, if those refugees do not recieve enough food assistance
and international assurance for safety, they must face food-shortage
problems and unstable situation. And, the presence of international
organizations such as UNHCR, diplomatic community and NGOs in the
repatriation process may contribute much to bolster the confidence of


Statement of the Mon National Relief Committee Regarding the
Repatriation Program of Mon Refugees.

As a recent political development in Burma, the New Mon State Party
( NMSP) and the State Law and Order Restoration Council ( SLORC )
celebrated a ceasefire agreement on June 29, 1995.

The Mon National Relief Committee (MNRC) welcomes this good tidings.
After many years of miserable life Mon refugees now have an opportu-
nity to return back home in peace.

Mons never wanted to become refugees. They had to flee from their
native places in their homeland ( Mon State, Burma) because there
was fighting between the NMSP armed forces and the SLORC troops for
several years during which systematic persecution on Mon people,
such as forced relocation, forced labor, press-ganged for porterage
to be used also as mine detectors and abuse of women porters happened.

Mon people who fled persecution are entitled to be accepted as refugees,
in accordance with the international norms.  This means that these refugees 
are entitled to be repatriated under secure conditions and it should be voluntary, 
according to the established international principles.

As ceasefire agreement has been effected, there will be no more fighting. 
The SLORC has promissed to discontinue its systematic persecution, except 
using voluntarily given labor.

Even though the long-awaited ceasefire came into effect,  Mon refugees
are still reluctant to return because of their past miserable experiences.
Therefore Mon refugees need assurance for their safety and voluntary

The MNRC believes these refugees need preotection and assistance as
provided to other returning refugees worldwide.

The Mon National Relief Committee calls for the establishment or
identification of a proper independent monitoring body which can ensure
the safety of the refugees before, during and after repatriation.

The Mon National Relief Committee calls for the provision for cross-
border resettlement relief assistance for the Mon refugees for a period
of at least one year ( or until they can subsist on their own ).

We request the international community to provide us with development
aid to help us rebuild the Mon State which has been shattered by 
protracted civil war.

The Mon refugees now are looking forward to returning home and are
hoping to go back as early as possible. However, to attempt to 
return them prematurely  without necessary protection and assistance
would cause uncertainty among the Mon refugees as to their future
existence in Burma and this could lead them to flee back to Thailand
once again in the near future.

The MNRC calls upon the international community working for Mon
refugees, the Royal Thai Government and the SLORC to ensure the
safe, secure and confident return of the Mon refugees.

Date: August 31, 1995	   Mon National Relief Committee
			   Thai-Burma Border

September 24, 1995

Yvan Cohen spoke to Michael Lim, one of a new breed of ambitious
entrepreneurs in Burma.

RANGOON, Burma _ If you want to make your fortune in Burma, start
now. That's the message from Burmese businessman Michael Lim, who
heads the country's first privately-owned media group.

In December 1993, Lim abandoned his stock exchange business to
launch the Today-Media and Information Group. "It's pretty easy
making money trading, but I wanted to get involved in something
new with good potential for growth," explains Lim, who is one of
a number of local and foreign businessmen taking advantage of
market reforms in Burma's formerly socialist economy.

In his office in downtown Rangoon, the 32-year-old entrepreneur
enjoys showing visitors how he uses car batteries to keep his
company's six computers running during the city's frequent black-
outs. "What I really enjoy about doing business in Burma is the
feeling that you're a pioneer," says Lim, leaning forward to
catch the glow of the battery-powered neon lamp which illuminates
his windowless office.

Three months after the Today Media and Information Group was
founded, it produced-the first issue of Today magazine, a
full-colour English language monthly which Lim describes as the
group's flagship and image ambassador.

Aimed at Burma's growing expatriate and tourist population, Today
is proof of the young businessman's keen eye for opportunities.
"The tourism industry was expanding in an unprecedented
manner but there were no outlets for promotion," says Lim who, in
addition to his native Burmese, also speaks fluent English, Thai
and Chinese. Burma began opening its doors to tourists in 1989
and has declared 1996 "Visit Myanmar Year." Some 300,000 tourists
are expected to visit the country in 1996, up from around 100,000
this year.

But Today magazine is just the beginning, says Lim, explaining
that the group will "soon" launch a new biweekly newspaper in
English and a weekly newspaper in Burmese. Having spent seven
years in real estate and trading in Bangkok, Lim i is clearly
impatient to see Burma's economy catch up with its booming
neighbours, where comparatively liberal political and economic
policies have seen the media and communications sectors flourish.
At present, Burma is still classified among the world's least
developed nations.

"I certainly admire Thaksin Shinawatra," concedes Lim, referring
to the Thai telecommunications magnate who has built an estimated
US$2 billion business empire in the space of a decade.
"The next step for the Today group is radio and then television,"
declares Lim, who also plans to get involved in Burma's fledgling
tele-communications sector. "I'm currently negotiating with a
major international telecommunications group.

"Existing state media is too limited. There is a strong demand
for information regarding business developments. Today Media and
Information Group will expand its access to international news
through its recently acquired translation rights for stories from
PC World and Asian Business magazines." The group was scheduled
to launch its Burmese version of PC World in September.

Despite Lim's seemingly limitless optimism, Burma is still a long
way from providing the kind of political or economic environment
which will allow him to transform his ambitions into reality.
Indeed, while Lim may be able to get around electrical blackouts
with the aid of car batteries, he has to follow the line of
strict government censorship placed on all media.

"The censors look at everything s at least twice, once after the
story is written and again prior to distribution," explains Lim,
who is nevertheless confident of official support for his group.

"The government understands the importance of the media sector.
We have already discussed the possibility of setting up a new
national daily." On the wall of his office, a single framed
photograph of him shaking hands with military strongman General
Khin Nyunt is further evidence of what Lim refers to as his "good
relations" with the State Law and Order Restoration Council
(Slorc), Burma's military junta.

Unflustered by international criticism of Slorc, which routinely
detains political opponents and is accused of widespread human
rights violations, Lim believes most foreign investors share his
enthusiasm. "From an investor's point of view, Burma is safer
than Vietnam," he says. ''The legal system left by the British is
still intact and people here are eager to learn."

A number of international investors have moved into Burma
fuelling economic growth that topped six per cent in 1994, but
many have expressed doubts about the strength of Burma's boom.
Steadily rising inflation is already estimated at around 40 per
cent, and the continuing huge gap between the official exchange
rate _ where one US dollar equals six kyat, and black market
value _ where a dollar can be exchanged for up to 20 times more,
continues to erode investor confidence.

For now, Lim operates the five companies in his group with 40
local staff members. The companies include T Advertising, Today
Media and Information, Today
Publishing House and Today Printing Co Ltd. Lim reckons his total
investment so far has been about 2 million kyat or about
US$20,000 (using the more realistic black market exchange rate).

Isn't Burma's fledgling media tycoon afraid of being swamped by
the arrival of larger international players? Lim is unshaken.
"We were negotiating a partnership with an international
advertising agency but the deal fell through because I insisted
the company retain the name Today," he says. Aware, however, that
he will eventually be obliged to shift his group into a higher
corporate gear, Lim says he has already lined up all the
investment backing he needs. "I have an agreement with a publicly
listed media group in Thailand," revealed Lim, who declined to
name his future investor. 

_ World News Link.


September 26, 1995

JAPAN is considering giving Burma grants of 1.5-2 billion yen
(360-480 million baht) to repair nursing schools in Rangoon, a
foreign ministry official said. The final decision on the grant
is expected next month following the visit to Rangoon by Foreign
ministry study missions in June and in late August-early September.

Rangoon's military intelligence leader, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt
announced Japan will donate US$400,000 (10 million baht) to Burma
to build schools in border areas.


Thais eager to resume Burma border trade
September 26, 1995

Report by Nussara Sawatsawang

THAILAND IS speeding up efforts to restore its lucrative border
trade with Burma.  It has completed a draft agreement on border
trade in an effort to persuade Burma to reopen checkpoints.

The Foreign Ministry's Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs
prepared the draft, according to a Commerce Ministry official,
quoting a department representative.

It must now consult other state-agencies including the
Immigration Office, Customs Department and Interior and Commerce
ministries. They are expected to discuss the draft this week
before holding talks with Burmese counterparts.

A senior official at the Department of Treaties and Legal Affairs
said the draft was wide-ranging, covering products to be traded
and ways to solve trade disputes.

The Burmese apparently want the agreement, too, because the
sooner ways can be found to monitor trade the more hard currency
Rangoon will gain from duty on goods.

According to the Commerce Ministry, Thailand's exports to Burma
last year were worth 6.68 billion baht, while imports from that
country totalled 3.31 billion baht through three temporary
checkpoints _ Tachilek-Mae Sai in Chiang Rai Myawaddy-Mae Sot in
Tak and Victoria Point-Ranong.

The true figure would be six or seven times greater if illegal
trade was included, according to officials.

Rangoon closed its northern border with Thailand in March in
retaliation for what it saw as Thai support for minority groups.
The closure of the Victoria Point-Ranong link followed the murder
of four Burmese fishermen on Thai trawlers early last month.

The Commerce Ministry official said the agreement and the
reopening of border checkpoints were separate issues. But it was
hoped Burma would review its decision as it would then be able to
get full profit from trade.

Burma has previously asked in vain for Thailand to sign border
trade agreements.

Rangoon signed a border trade pact with China in 1988, with India
in January last year and and four months later with Bangladesh,
leaving only Thailand and Laos without agreements.

Trade structure and products involved are the two main problems.
The issue was not raised publicly at the second Thai-Burmese
Joint Commission meeting in Bangkok last December, which noted
the two countries were to sign an agreement early this year.

But it was revived during the recent visit to Burma by Deputy
Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.

Gen Chavalit, who visited Rangoon at a time relations between the
countries were at a low, held discussions with counterpart
Vice-Admiral Maung Maung Khin and said the process was delayed
because the two sides had different ideas about border trade.

Burma wanted a central body to control and supervise trade, but
Thailand preferred it to be free from state control, he said.

Rangoon wanted the agreement with Thailand to be like that with
China, although Beijing's political and economic system differed
from Thailand's, the ministry official said.

The Sino-Burmese agreement applies to trade between the Burmese
towns of Muse and Kyukok on one hand, with Wanting in Yunnan,
southern China. Trade is conducted under the monopoly of the
Myanmar Export and Import Corp and the Yunnan Provincial Import
and Export Corp.

Financial services are provided by the two state banks, Myanmar
Foreign Trade Bank and Bank of China in Kunming, the capital of

Thailand could not have a state monopoly of business or banking
services, the officials said. But it could supervise trade to
ensure regulations were observed.

Thailand was also worried about Burma's ban on exports through
border checkpoints of 28 items including teak, jewellery,
antiques, fish, ivory, cattle, rare animals and mineral
resources. Many of these are exported legally and illegally 
to Thailand.

Compliance with the Burmese regulation would have a big impact on
Thai traders, the official said.

However, a Foreign Ministry official said as long as Thailand
pledged to set up open mechanisms, negotiations were possible on
items traded. The countries might be able to grant each other
most-favoured nation status.

While the Commerce Ministry, the Immigration Office and Customs
Department would screen companies and supervise legal trade, the
Thai-Burmese Regional, Border Committee would solve disputes, he

Businessmen are keen to see trade resume. Representatives of 10
chambers of commerce from provinces bordering Burma want the
agreement signed to enable them to export goods. They complain
goods has to be sent to Rangoon via Singapore, boosting costs and
wasting time.

Typed by the Research Department of the ABSDF {MTZ}    26.9.95