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Bkk Post -Burma takes fresh look at
- Subject: Bkk Post -Burma takes fresh look at
- From: tinkyi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 08:53:00
Reply-To: "TIN KYI" <tinkyi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Bkk Post -Burma takes fresh look at security
Bangkok Post - Oct 13, 1999.
Burma takes fresh look at security
Closure order said to be temporary
Burma is in the process of building security confidence and reassessing
border regulations in the wake of the Oct 1 embassy siege, said Foreign
Minister Surin Pitsuwan.
He explained the government was doing its best through formal and informal
diplomatic channels to resolve the on-going distrust Burma appears to be
having toward Thailand.
Rangoon has given Thailand the cold shoulder since the embassy incident and
introduced what is viewed as sanctions: the border closure and revocation of
Apparently worried, Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai on Monday wrote to his
Burmese counterpart Than Shwe appealing for normalisation of ties.
Mr Surin said Burma was now working toward improving security protection in
order to boost confidence and prevent recurrence of the embassy siege.
To his knowledge, Burmese authorities were investigating any Burmese
nationals who may have taken part in plotting the embassy hostage-taking.
The Burmese embassy and the ambassador would be given tighter protection as
Rangoon was considering measures to revamp supervision of the embassy
compound. These include putting up barbed wire on fences, and separating
visitor-contact offices from the embassy premises.
Mr Surin ruled out a review of bilateral policies with Burma in response to
observations that Thailand was being too submissive to the Burmese
The minister said countries could not choose their geography or their
neighbours and that the differing foreign policies and approaches to solving
problems could result in misunderstanding between them.
He insisted dialogue would continue to be pursued in alleviating conflict
Denying Thailand was Burma's underdog, he expressed confidence the
government had adhered to correct principles in handling the Burma problem.
M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the deputy foreign affairs minister, said
Burma's foreign ministry confirmed the border closure was temporary but
declined to say when links would be resumed.
It sealed the border as part of usual security procedures and not in
retaliation against Thailand's decision to release the Burmese
hostage-takers, he said.
The closure could have stemmed from internal unrest in Burma, he said. But
the government has alerted Rangoon to the economic repercussions caused by
However, the Burmese government refused to acknowledge the fishing rights
because the concessions had been signed without its authorisation.
There has been a huge loss of revenue from suspension of border trade and
fishing rights and the government has been urged to negotiate with Burma on
the lifting of the ban.
Mr Chuan, meanwhile, said the border situation was no cause for concern
despite reports of escalating tension after Rangoon dispatched more troops
to patrol the border.
Gen Chettha Thanajaro, the former army chief and security adviser to
Interior Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, said the Burmese troops were massed
at the border to suppress ethnic rebels, and that the action had nothing to
do with the embassy siege.
The deployment was not out of the ordinary as it was carried out every rainy
The only possible adverse effect was the possible influx of refugees pushed
across the border into Thailand by the suppression drive.