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BurmaNet News: June 21, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         June 21, 2001   Issue # 1829
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*AP: Thai PM arrives in Myanmar
*Radio Australia: Thai PM arrives in Burma for top-level talks 
*BBC: Thailand and Burma 'back on track'

*Freedom News (SSA): Goods from Thailand made illegal
*Xinhua: Myanmar's Private Sector Plays Leading Role in Foreign Trade

*Freedom News (SSA): Situation at border

*The Nation: Junta caught dealing drugs 
*The Nation: TV crew fingers junta 

*Bangkok Post: Joint panel to mull border reopening-All lingering doubts 
will be thrashed out
*The Nation: Burma ?Peace Talks?: PM pledges end to clashes 
*The Nation: US group calls on govt to help Shan 

*SPDC & Thailand: Joint Communique Issued on the Occasion of the 
Official Visit 
to the Union of Myanmar of His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra 
*The Nation: Thaksin cannot rush diplomacy 

*PD Burma: Burma Calendar of events

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

AP: Thai PM arrives in Myanmar

MYANMAR - June 20, 2001
Fresh from tackling his biggest political headache at home, Thai Prime 
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra took on his biggest diplomatic challenge 
Tuesday with a visit to neighboring Myanmar, with whom relations are at 
their lowest ebb in years.

His hosts nevertheless prepared a warm red-carpet welcome for Thaksin, 
though a pouring rain forced the greeting ceremony indoors to the 
arrival lounge at Mingladon Airport.

He was greeted by the prime minister and head of the ruling junta, 
Senior Gen. Than Shwe, and other top officials, while hundreds of 
schoolchildren stood outside in the downpour chanting slogans of 
friendship and a 19-gun salute was fired.

Relations between Thailand and Myanmar, also known as Burma, turned sour 
after 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.

Drug trafficking was expected to dominate Thaksin's agenda in Myanmar, 
and the two countries are supposed to sign a memorandum of understanding 
on jointly suppressing it.

Thaksin came from Cambodia, where he flew on an official visit Monday 
after delivered a closing statement at his trial for concealing personal 
assets while serving in a previous government. If found guilty he could 
be kicked out of his post and barred from public office for five years.

Thai-Myanmar relations have been darkened by a propaganda war, in which 
Thailand's free media and Myanmar's state-controlled media have carried 
harsh criticism of each other's governments.

But with the approach of Thaksin's visit, Myanmar's media assumed a 
kinder tone.

An editorial that ran Tuesday in state-run newspapers said that Myanmar 
and Thailand "have had the tradition of working to combat the menace of 
hard drugs and will continue to do so in an atmosphere of friendly 
cooperation to fight the common enemy."

All three official newspapers also published Thaksin's biography on 
their front pages.

Thaksin is the first Thai prime minister to visit Myanmar since 
now-Defense Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh went in 1997.

Many Western nations shun the military regime for its poor human rights 
record and failure to hand over power to a democratically elected 

Thaksin was to return to Thailand on Thursday. (AP)

Radio Australia: Thai PM arrives in Burma for top-level talks 

June 21, 2001

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has arrived in Burma in a bid to 
ease tension drugs and simmering border issues. 

Relations between Thailand and Burma soured this year after a series of 
clashes along their mutual border. 

Mr Thaksin has said he wants to mend ties with Rangoon and is visiting 
the country for two days despite criticism from some Thai politicians 
that his approach is too conciliatory. 

He was welcomed by all the top leaders of Burma's ruling State Peace and 
Development Council.

Thai diplomats in Burma said the visit would focus on promoting goodwill 
and improving cooperation between the two countries in fighting drugs 
production and trafficking. 

In February, Thai and Burmese soldiers clashed at the border in 
skirmishes that left dozens dead and relations worsened in the following 
months, with each side accusing the other of backing the drugs trade. 

(07:56:52 AEST) 


BBC: Thailand and Burma 'back on track'

 Wednesday, 20 June, 2001, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK 

By Jonathan Head in Rangoon 

The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, has hailed his two-day 
visit to Burma as a success, saying relations between the two countries 
are now back on track.  
Earlier this year, Burmese and Thai troops were involved in clashes on 
their common border - both countries accuse the other of supporting 
drug-producing militias in the area.  
Mr Thaksin brought all his considerable public relations skills to bear 
on Burma - the country which is the Thai prime minister's biggest 
foreign policy challenge.  
On Wednesday morning, local worshippers at Rangoon's magnificent 
Shwedagon temple were clearly astonished to watch the Thai leader 
praying and sightseeing alongside them.  
It was a populist touch, unfamiliar to most people in military-ruled 
Little of substance 

But while his charm has undoubtedly helped to warm the atmosphere, Mr 
Thaksin was unable to walk away with any solid agreements on the issues 
which still divide the two countries.  
The memorandum of understanding they signed referred only in the most 
general terms to the problems of drugs, which Thailand says are produced 
in large quantities inside Burma and then shipped over the border.  
There was no mention even of the joint border patrols the Thai side had 
been seeking.  
Big differences 

Thailand is awash with narcotics, and Mr Thaksin has made controlling 
the supply of drugs a top priority. But his Burmese counterparts still 
insist they are not responsible for Thailand's drugs crisis.  
These are still two very different Asian states. One is a free market 
democracy; the other, one of the world's most isolated and oppressive 
However much they need to get along with each other, Thailand and Burma 
still find it hard to end their historic mistrust and rivalry.


Freedom News (SSA): Goods from Thailand made illegal

June 20, 2001

On 21st April 2001, Colonel Tin Win, the brigade commander of the 
Burmese  army based at Murng Pan, issued an order for the people of 
Murng Pan. This  order said, "For the day of this order onwards, no one 
can buy, sell or use  any products from Thailand. You have 3 months to 
change your household  goods. After 3 months, the soldiers will check 
every house. If products  from Thailand are found in anyone's 
possession, the owner will face severe  punishment and his property 

Due to this order, the people in Murng Pan are now busy to hide or to  
destroy their household belongings branded with "Made in Thailand". 
Since  many decades, the people living close to the Thai border, ie. 
Larng Khur,  Murng Pan, Murng Ton etc., have relied on Thailand for food 
and household  goods. And now due to the border problems, the Burmese 
have tried to take  revenge on the people, by banning Thai goods. The 
people were angry, but  could do nothing against the Burmese armed 

And now all their goods which they have used for years have become 
illegal  and have to be thrown away. Now they can only buy goods of low 
quality  which they are not used to. As a result of this order, brokers 
have  increased the sale price of their low quality goods which were 
several  times cheaper than Thai ones. To substitute their good quality 
property,  the people were forced to spend more to buy poor quality 
goods with much  higher prices.

An old woman who had just came to the border near Piang Luang said, 
"They  are fighting by their own will. When they lose and could do 
nothing, why  did they take their revenge on the people? We have been 
suffering like this  under the tyranical rule of the Burmese soldiers 
for so many years." 

Xinhua: Myanmar's Private Sector Plays Leading Role in Foreign Trade

 2001.06.20 09:15:13  

YANGON, June 20 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar's private sector is playing  a 
leading role in the country's foreign trade, accounting for a  high 
percentage in both import and export values. 

According to the latest figures published by Myanmar's Central  
Statistical Organization (CSO), the private sector made up 68.68  
percent of the country's total imports in value in the first two  months 
of this year and represented 59.84 percent of the total  exports in 
value during the period. 

The rest of the percentages were taken up by the government and 
cooperative sectors. 
Myanmar's foreign trade totaled 769.15 million U.S. dollars in  the 
two-month period with its imports valuing at 431.15 million  dollars and 
its exports amounting to 338 million dollars. 

The playing of the leading role by the private sector in  foreign trade 
is linked to the encouragement by the government and the adoption of a 
policy of privatization since early 1995. 

According to official statistics, in 2000, Myanmar's foreign  trade 
totaled 4.086 billion dollars, of which the private sector  made up 76.8 
percent of its imports which was valued at 2.567  billion dollars, while 
it took up 68.5 percent of its exports  which amounted to 1.519 billion 

It is reported that there are 33,081 private entrepreneurs in  Myanmar 
including exporters and importers, business  representatives, companies 
and joint venture ones. 


Freedom News (SSA): Situation at border

June 20, 2001

On 7th May 2001, at 07.30 hrs., a combined force of Wa and Burmese 
troops  tried to take the SSA position at Loi San Su, near the Thai 
border opposite  Fang district. On 8th May 2001, their second assault 
came at 09.00 hrs and  lasted till 14.00 hrs. In this second assault, Wa 
troops suffered 4 dead  and 8 wounded. 3 SSA men were wounded. In the 
same day, Wa troops who had  occupied Loi Holon were shelled by Thai 
artillery with 81mm mortars and  105mm field cannon.

Nowadays, the Burmese junta have use drugged Wa and Lahu militias 
against  SSA troops. Indigenous people killing one another will benefit 
the ethnc  cleansing process of the Burmese military dictators. Drugged 
by speed  pills, these Wa and Lahu militiamen come in waves, dying like 
swamps of  insects in the fire just for the sake of the Burmese 
dictators. This is one  of the tragedies in the Shan state.

Let's avoid Inter-Ethnic War created by the military junta On 28th May 
2001, an SSA officer complained "On 26th May 2001, 2 SSA men  from Loi 
Sansu, a camp near the Thai border, who had gone to fetch some  
vegetables met with Wa troops. Wa troops captured and killed them on the 
 spot and captured their 2 rifles".

Since Was came to the border they have done nothing good, only creating  
problems for the SSA. On 16th September 2000, they captured 6 men from  
SSA's 727th brigade, with 6 small arms. Since then the fate of these 6  
soldiers is unknown. And on 13th March 2001, they tried to attack an SSA 
 camp at Loi Ho Ma. They have encroached and settled at Mong Kyawt area, 
 driving the local people from their homes and confiscating their farm  
lands. They even said, "This area was given to us by Lt. Gen. Khin 

During the battle of Par Khee (from 22nd April to 3rd May 2001), Wa 
troops  joined the Burmese against SSA, where they lost 130 dead and 82 
wounded.  And when they tried to raid the SSA camp at Loi Sansu, they 
lost more than  10 dead and 40 wounded. Finally they tried to encroach 
and construct their  camps close to Loi Tai Leng in order to snipe on 
the SSA camp. It's clear  that they are working on behalf of the Burmese 
junta, to cause trouble for  the SSA and the Shan State. But SSA have 
done nothing in revenge. 

The SSA officer continued, "SSA knew well the problems caused by the Wa  
troops. We have avoided war not because we are afraid of them. Even 
though  the Burmese troops are more numerous and mighty, we are opposing 
them.  There is nothing to fear about these few Was. We are patient 
because we  don't want to trigger an inter-ethnic war. We are waiting, 
in the hope that  this problem could be solved peacefully. If all 
peaceful means are  exhausted, there will be a total inter-ethnic war, 
instead of drug battles  or battles controlling trade. If this happens 
the Was, who are only 8% of  the total Shan state population will be 
defeated with heavy losses, even  extinct. To avoid this tragedy we 
Shans (Tais) are elders and are patient  to solve the problem by 
peaceful means."


The Nation: Junta caught dealing drugs 

June 20, 2001

An Australian television current affairs programme which aired last 
night is certain to further complicate Prime Minister Thaksin 
Shinawatra's fence-mending mission to Rangoon today.

The programme, broadcast across Australia, claimed it had acquired 
irrefutable evidence to show the Burmese military government's 
involvement in the drugs trade.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Foreign Correspondent" also 
alleged that Thailand was training and supplying weapons to Shan 
guerrillas to help stop the flow of drugs across the border into the 

The claims could not have been more untimely. They were backed up by a 
noted Australian defence strategist, and could prove embarrassing for 
both Thaksin and the Rangoon generals as they meet to try and ease the 
festering cross-border tension.

The story featured film of a night military raid on a Burmese army post 
on the Thai border in March. The clash ignited the war-of-words between 
Thailand and Burma which eventuated in Thaksin's two-day visit to 
Rangoon, starting today.

"Foreign Correspondent" reporter Evan Williams said the raid was carried 
out by the Shan State Army, fighting an independence war with the junta.

During the raid, the programme alleged, the Shan captured a huge haul of 
methamphetamine pills headed for Thailand. It was claimed the drugs, 
along with weapons and ammunition, were stored at the post by the 
Burmese army. 

"So concerned are the Thai authorities becoming about the drugs trade 
into Thailand via remote mountain paths along the Burmese border, 
they're now rearming and retraining Shan guerrillas to help them in 
their war against the Rangoon government," a synopsis on the website of 
"Foreign Correspondent" said.

"It's a striking change of heart for the Thais, who for years refused to 
help the Shan in their independence struggle. It's also ironic that it's 
the Shan who are now [at] the frontline in the West's war against drugs 
 . . . since for years they financed their war largely through taxes on 
heroin from the Golden Triangle."

Professor Des Ball, from the Australian National University's Strategic 
and Defence Studies Centre, travelled with Williams to the Thai-Burma 

"In the case of the methamphetamine production labs, you've got Burmese 
troops actually guarding the plants, you've got military intelligence 
guys providing the escorts of the trafficking caravans and military 
people who allow it to actually cross the border into Thailand," Ball 

Ball has been a long-time critic of the Rangoon regime and has written 
papers denouncing its involvement in the international drugs trade. He 
has also criticised the Australian government for glossing over the 
drugs link in its relationship with Burma.

In a 1999 paper entitled Burma and Drugs: The Regime's Complicity in the 
Global Drug Trade, Ball described the Burma leadership as "drug-runners 
and criminals" and Asia's most brutal and corrupt government. 

"A major dimension of the corruption is the involvement of the regime - 
from the most senior members of the State Peace and Development Council, 
which rules the country, down to the infantry soldiers stationed in 
border areas - in drug trafficking," he wrote. 

The Nation: TV crew fingers junta 

June 21, 2001

Burma's military intelligence chief and No 3 in the junta leadership, Lt 
General Khin Nyunt, was playing a key role in the country's drug trade, 
an Australian television current affairs programme alleged yesterday.

Burmese drug traffickers enjoyed the direct protection of Khin Nyunt who 
had personal investments in the drug trade, the Australian Broadcasting 
Cor- poration's "Foreign Correspon-dent" reported.

The influential programme, aired nationally last night, said the use of 
military personnel was in fact pivotal to the country's massive trade in 

"In the case of many methamphetamine [yaa baa] production labs, you've 
got Burmese troops actually guarding the plants, you've got military 
intelligence guys providing the escorts of the trafficking caravans, 
you've got MI [military intelligence] people allowing it to actually 
cross the border into Thailand," noted Australian defence strategist and 
Southeast Asian affairs expert Professor Desmond Ball said.

Presenter Evan Williams said Thailand was so concerned by the increasing 
flood of yaa baa into Thailand that it was discreetly assisting the 
Burma guerrilla independence group Shan State Army (SSA) with training 
and weapons, to help stem the flow.

SSA leader Colonel Yawd Serk had invited the "Foreign Correspondent" 
news crew to witness how the former drug-runners had turned 
drug-fighters, Williams said, and the guerrillas were filming their war 
against the junta to prove it.

The programme aired an SSA film clip purportedly showing Thai army 
officers in civilian clothes conferring with Yawd Serk at his jungle 

Ball, attached to the Australian National University's Defence and 
Strategic Studies Centre in Canberra, said of Thailand's involvement: 
"They're providing training, weapons and ammunition; they're providing 

"These are for the ethnic armies to attack Burmese government posts in 
Burma, to attack those areas which are involved in the production of 
drugs - some of which do have Burmese military elements collocated with 
them to provide protection and support."

It also showed film of a purported SSA midnight assault on a Burmese 
military post at Pakee, near the Thai border, earlier this year. After 
the post is overrun, the film shows an array of weapons, ammunition . . 
 . and a "huge haul of methamphetamines bound for Thailand and stored at 
an official Burmese army post right on the border with Thailand", 
Williams says on the programme. "Such evidence is impossible for Burma's 
generals to dismiss."

Ball said the US State Department said drugs provided more than 50 per 
cent of Burma's foreign exchange. "The scale of this activity and the 
sheer dependence of the Burmese economy on that drug money, we're really 
talking about it infusing the whole government in Rangoon."

Williams said Thailand had appointed "tough-talking" Third Army 
commander Lt General Wattanachai Chaimuenwong "to stem the [drugs] flow" 
and to "challenge Burma's military dictators directly".

Wattanachai said on the programme the amount of yaa baa coming in from 
Burma had increased from 200-million tablets a year to an expected 
600-700 million this year. "So it is a very serious problem, a real 
national threat, especially for young Thai people," he said.

Journalist and Burma affairs authority Bertil Lintner said Khin Nyunt 
had managed to broker cease-fire deals with ethnic armies fighting for 
independence by simply agreeing to allow them to do whatever business 
they wished, including the drugs trade.

"There is no doubt that the drug traffickers are enjoying the direct 
protection of General Khin Nyunt and that is shown in the special number 
plates which cars carry, the special ID cards that the leaders of the 
cease-fire armies carry which gives them immunity to any kind of 
searches at Burmese army checkpoints anywhere inside the country," he 

"So Khin Nyunt is definitely involved in the movement of narcotics 
across the country." 


___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________


Bangkok Post: Joint panel to mull border reopening-All lingering doubts 
will be thrashed out

June 21, 2001

By Bhanravee Tansubhapol 

The Thai-Burmese Township Border Committee will meet in a week to 
discuss the unconditional reopening of three border checkpoints, Prime 
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday. 

The panel would also deal with lingering doubts and misunderstandings so 
as to put an end to mistrust between the two neighbours, he said.

The prime minister was speaking after his 24-hour visit to Rangoon where 
he had extensive talks with Gen Than Shwe, the prime minister and 
chairman of Burma's ruling State Peace and Development Council, and 
Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, the council's first secretary.

The three border checkpoints are Tachilek-Mae Sai, Myawaddy-Mae Sot and 

The Tachilek-Mae Sai crossing has been closed since border skirmishes in 

The other two have been open only occasionally.

A memorandum of understanding on co-operation against drugs was signed 
during Mr Thaksin's visit.

It provides for both sides to set up co-ordinating units at the three 
checkpoints. It also calls for an exchange of intelligence between drug 
officials posted at their respective embassies in Rangoon and Bangkok.

Mr Thaksin quoted Gen Than Shwe as saying that the United Wa State Army 
was determined to reduce its drug production, but it did not have 
complete control over its own people.

He told Mr Thaksin to send representatives to verify the situation at 
the Wa's Mong Yawn township and check out any lingering doubts.

Gen Than Shwe also asked Mr Thaksin to convey his government's 
invitation for Their Majesties the King and Queen to visit Burma.

A joint communique said Gen Than Shwe had "accepted with pleasure" Mr 
Thaksin's invitation for him to visit Thailand.

Burma's Foreign Minister Win Aung will pay an official visit to Thailand 
tomorrow and Saturday to discuss a road network and co-operation between 
Thailand, Burma, China and Laos, a diplomatic source said.

Mr Thaksin quoted Gen Than Shwe as saying that their countries could 
"complement" each other .

Mr Thaksin would order Thai officials "not to regard small issues as big 

"The world now is borderless but we have problems over cross-border 
violations of only five metres on each side," he said.

Mr Thaksin also told Gen Than Shwe of Thailand's willingness to help 
Burma achieve national reconciliation.

In a meeting with Thai businessmen in Rangoon, Mr Thaksin expressed 
confidence that Thai-Burmese relations would be restored to "the optimum 

The prime minister said he believed co-operation in economic, cultural 
and political affairs would develop with mutual understanding.

He urged the 500 businessmen representing 50 companies to act in full 
consciousness of their Thai identity and their status as pioneers.

The premier also called on them to help restore Thailand's relations 
with Burma.


The Nation: Burma ?Peace Talks?: PM pledges end to clashes 

June 21, 2001

By Vorapun Srivoranart

Not a single gunshot would be exchanged between Thai and Burmese forces 
along the border during his tenure as leader, Prime Minister Thaksin 
Shinawatra pledged yesterday. 

Wrapping up a landmark two-day visit to Burma to repair the damage from 
a lengthy war of words, Thaksin said he wanted to ensure their 
relationship would return to the warmth of its heyday.

Thaksin said that in two days of frank discussions with the Rangoon 
leadership, he had spoken "with the heart of a Buddhist". Talks with the 
Burmese leaders, especially State Peace and Development Council chairman 
Senior General Than Shwe had been successful in dispelling the mutual 
suspicion and misunderstanding over the past months.

Burma had agreed to cooperate on every issue of mutual concern. The 
details would be worked out during a two-day visit to Thailand by the 
Burmese foreign minister Win Aung, beginning tomorrow, said Foreign 
Minister Surakairt Sathirathai.

The two leaders signed a joint communiqu? reaffirming "traditional ties 
of friendship and goodwill" between the two countries which share 2,401 
km of common land border. Thaksin said the document was historic in that 
it implied the damaged ties had been overcome and both sides would focus 
on cooperation rather than conflicts. "Everything is about attitude," he 

"From now on you will see the Thai-Burmese relationship back to its best 
and it will continue to develop in the future," he said, adding he was 
greatly impressed by the warm welcome the Burmese authorities had 
accorded to him which was "beyond expectation".

During the official visit, Rangoon had put up what officials described 
as "the greatest reception ever" for the Thai leader against the 
backdrop of the fiery tensions of recent months.

Thaksin said his main inspiration to go against domestic odds in 
becoming the first Thai leader to visit Rangoon in four years came from 
a speech by HM the King last month, stressing the importance of harmony 
between the two neighbouring countries.

According to the communiqu?, Than Shwe conveyed "his warmest greetings 
and profound regards to HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, noting 
the central role of the monarchy in promoting the welfare of the Thai 
people and in fostering goodwill and the bonds of friendships" between 
the two nations.

The Burmese leader also extended an invitation to Their Majesties the 
King and Queen and other members of the royal family to visit Burma. The 
move could be construed as an appropriate remedy in light of a series of 
articles published in the Burmese state-mouthpiece critical of past Thai 
monarchs, and the recent shelling of the Royal Project at Doi Angkhang.

"Disputes bred an imagination of endless disputes and it came to a point 
of getting out of control, therefore I decided to make a quick visit," 
Thaksin said, adding that "face" should not come at the expense of 
mutual well-being.

Deputy chief of PM's adviser, Gen Chetta Thanajaro, said the move to 
mend fences started about a month ago with Thaksin's conviction that 
only a summit meeting would work with a centralised state like Burma.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of 
Understanding on drug controls between Surakiart and Burmese Home 
Affairs Minister Col Tin Hlaing. Both Thailand and Burma inked a similar 
bilateral MoU with China last year.

The measures stipulated in the agreement include prevention, 
suppression, rehabilitation, alternative crop schemes and information 
exchanges. However, Rangoon refused to exchange permanent drug liaison 
officers, preferring to rely more on existing mechanisms. 

But the Burmese leader agreed to a quadrilateral drug summit in Kunming 
by the end of the year between Thailand, China, Burma and Laos.

Burma also agreed that Thailand could send an envoy to inspect areas 
where ethnic minorities were suspected of producing narcotics, including 
Mong Yawn.

Than Shwe told the Thai leader the Wa was determined to reduce its 
narcotics activities as soon as possible and he did not want to see 
drugs harming future generations of Thais, said Thaksin. "Burma 
reaffirmed that it has nothing to do with the Wa".

Both leaders agreed the border checkpoint at Tachilek-Mae Sai will be 
opened within a week without any conditions attached. Thaksin also 
invited Than Shwe to visit Thailand. 

Vorapun Srivoranart





The Nation: US group calls on govt to help Shan 

June 21, 2001 (National)

Thailand should provide temporary assistance to some 100,000 ethnic Shan 
who have fled from Burma, a senior policy analyst from the United States 
Committee for Refugees said yesterday.

The Shan had fled to Thailand and lived like refugees, but were not 
accepted as such, USCR policy analyst Hiram Ruiz said.

Yesterday was the world's first-ever Refugee Day. Including the Shan, 
there are some 217,000 refugees living in Thailand today.

Burmese Shan began pouring over the border in 1996, fleeing a forced 
relocation programme in central Shan state, Ruiz said.

Because the reasons they fled their homeland and the hardships they 
faced were no different to those of other refugees, the Shan needed some 
assistance and access to basic human services, Ruiz said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which faces a 
funding shortfall of about US$100 million (Bt4.5 billion) this year, 
appealed to countries to revive their commitment to help refugees, and 
to respect them and their contributions.

High Commissioner for Refugees Rudd Lubbers urged affluent countries to 
do more.

The USCR survey reported a total of 39 million displaced people 
worldwide, 14.5m of them refugees and 24.4m displaced in their own 

Related report [7A] 


SPDC & Thailand: Joint Communique Issued on the Occasion of the Official 
to the Union of Myanmar of His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra 

Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand 
(19-20 June 2001) 

1. At the invitation of His Excellency Senior General Than Shwe, 
Chairman of  the State Peace and Development Council and Prime Minister 
of the Union of  Myanmar, His Excellency Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime 
Minister of the Kingdom of  Thailand, paid an official visit to the 
Union of Myanmar from 19-20 June 2001.  

2. His Excellency Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was accompanied by 
His  Excellency Surakiart Sathirathai, Minister of Foreign Affairs, His 
Excellency  General Thammarak Isarangura, Minister to the Prime 
Minister?s Office, His  Excellency Somkid Jatusripitak, Minister of 
Finance, His Excellency Adisai  Bodharamik, Minister of Commerce, His 
Excellency Police Captain Purachai  Piumsomboon, Minister of Interior, 
Her Excellency Sudarat Keyuraphun,  Minister of Public Health, His 
Excellency General Yuthasak Sasiprapha, Deputy  Minister of Defence and 
other high-ranking officials of the Royal Thai  Government. 

3. His Excellency Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and party were 
accorded a  warm welcome by His Excellency Senior General Than Shwe, 
Chairman of the  State Peace and Development Council and Prime Minister 
of the Union of  Myanmar, reflecting the traditional ties of friendship 
and goodwill between  the two neighbours. 

4. During the visit, His Excellency Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra 
called  on His Excellency Prime Minister Senior General Than Shwe on 20 
June 2001 at  the Pyithu Hluttaw in Yangon. Present on the Myanmar side 
were His Excellency  General Maung Aye, Vice-Chairman of the State Peace 
and Development Council,  Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services 
and Commander-in-Chief (Army),  His Excellency Lt. General Khin Nyunt, 
Secretary-1 of the State Peace and  Development Council, His Excellency 
Lt. General Win Myint, Secretary-3 of the  State Peace and Development 
Council, His Excellency Lt. General Tin Hla,  Deputy Prime Minister and 
Minister for Military Affairs, His Excellency U Win  Aung, Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Colonel Tin Hlaing  Minister for Home 
Affairs, His Excellency Brigadier-General Thein Zaw,  Minister for Post 
and Telecommunications and His Excellency U Myo Myint,  Ambassador of 
the Union of Myanmar to Thailand. Present on the Thai side were  His 
Excellency Surakiart Sathirathai, Minister of Foreign Affairs, His  
Excellency Somkid Jatusripitak, Minister of Finance, His Excellency 
General  Thammarak Isarangura, Minister to the Prime Minister?s Office, 
His Excellency  Adisai Bodharamik, Minister of Commerce, His Excellency 
Police Captain  Purachai Piumsomboon, Minister of Interior, Her 
Excellency Sudarat  Keyuraphun, Minister of Public Health, His 
Excellency General Yuthasak  Sasiprapha, Deputy Minister of Defence, His 
Excellency Oum Maolanon,  Ambassador of Thailand to the Union of Myanmar 
and other high-ranking  officials of the Royal Thai Government. 

5. His Excellency Senior General Than Shwe expressed his sincere 
appreciation  to His Excellency Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for 
accepting his  invitation to visit the Union of Myanmar to renew and 
strengthen the  relations of friendship and good neighbourliness between 
the two countries.  

6. His Excellency Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the State Peace 
and  Development Council, conveyed his warmest greetings and profound 
regards to  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, noting the 
central role of  the monarchy in promoting the welfare of the Thai 
people and in fostering  goodwill and close bonds of friendship and 
cooperation between Myanmar and  Thailand. His Excellency Senior General 
Than Shwe extended his cordial  invitation to Their Majesties the King 
and Queen of Thailand and other  members of the Royal Family to visit 
the Union of Myanmar at future mutual  convenience. 

7. The Prime Ministers welcomed the opportunity provided by the visit to 
 exchange views on bilateral matters and matters of mutual interest to 
the two  countries as well as on the promotion of peace and prosperity 
in the  Southeast Asian region as a whole. 

8. In the talks, both sides renewed their firm determination to further  
enhance the traditional friendship and cooperation between the two 
countries  in the spirit of goodwill, friendship and mutual 
understanding, guided by the  principles of mutual trust and respect for 
each other?s sovereignty and  territorial integrity and the settlement 
of disputes by peaceful means. They  reiterated the pledge of the two 
governments, expressed in the Joint  Communique of 17 May 1997, to turn 
the common border between the two  countries into one of friendship and 

9. The Prime Ministers also shared the view that regular contacts and  
consultations, at all levels, are essential to the strengthening of 
mutual  understanding and for amicable settlement of issues. In this 
regard, both  sides agreed to utilize the full potential of the existing 
mechanisms ? the  Township Border Committee (TBC), the Regional Border 
Committee (RBC), the  Joint Boundary Committee (JBC) and the Joint 
Commission for Bilateral  Cooperation (JC). 

10. The Prime Ministers entrusted their officials to discuss and work 
out  expeditious means to enhance mutual confidence and trust in their 
cooperation  on matters of security and in drug suppression along their 
common border.  

11. They expressed their firm belief that although problems may sometime 
 arise between the two countries due to the sharing of a long common 
border,  they are confident that these can be resolved amicably based on 
friendship,  understanding, mutual trust and respect. 

12. The Prime Ministers concurred that regular contacts and 
consultations  between the leaders and peoples of the two countries are 
essential to  strengthen mutual trust and understanding. To that end 
they agreed to promote  exchange of visits between the two countries in 
all fields.  

13. The Prime Ministers expressed their deep concern over the problem of 
 narcotic drugs that adversely effect societies in the region. They 
shared the  view that close cooperation between countries concerned is 
the most effective  means to overcome the menace posed by narcotic 
drugs. In this regard, the  Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the 
Memorandum of Understanding  between the Government of the Union of 
Myanmar and the Government of the  Kingdom of Thailand on Cooperation in 
Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances  and Precursor Chemicals Control 
which would contribute greatly to the  enhancement of cooperation in 
this important field. 

14. The Prime Ministers also welcomed the proposal to enhance 
anti-narcotic  drugs cooperation between the Governments of China, Laos, 
Myanmar and  Thailand. They expressed their confidence that such 
quadrilateral cooperation  would provide the region with an effective 
framework to fight the scourge of  drugs. In this connection, Prime 
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra informed Prime  Minister Senior General Than 
Shwe of the outcome of his talks with the  leaders of China and the Lao 
PDR. The two Prime Ministers agreed to work out  the means leading 
towards the realisation of the meeting of Heads of  Government of the 
four countries. 

15. The Prime Ministers expressed their belief that there exists great  
potential for increasing cooperation in economic, technical and 
commercial  sectors and entrusted their officials to find ways for 
strengthening trade,  commercial and investment ties. 

16. The Prime Ministers agreed that the issue of displaced persons and  
irregular migrants be discussed and addressed as a matter of priority 
within  the framework of the Joint Commission with a view to expediting 
their  eventual return in safety and dignity. 

17. Both sides also reaffirmed the spirit of the Myanmar-Thailand 
Agreement  on Border Crossing of 1997, which aims to establish a stable 
and predictable  bilateral regime for border crossings. In this context, 
they agreed to  normalize border crossings at Tachileik-Maesai, 
Myawaddy-Maesod and  Kawthoung-Ranong checkpoints. 

18. The Prime Ministers agreed that the development of road networks 
between  Myanmar and Thailand is essential to the promotion of trade, 
tourism and  other economic activities between the two countries. In 
this regard, both  sides agreed that the feasibility of projects as well 
as matters relating to  funding for projects should be further discussed 
and worked out by the  authorities concerned of the two countries. 

19. The two sides expressed their satisfaction at the ongoing 
cooperation  between the two countries in the fields of health and 
education. They noted  that the understanding reached to control and 
combat communicable diseases  such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis 
at the Myanmar-Thai border is an  important step in promoting the health 
and well-being of the two peoples.  They also look forward to closer 
cooperation in the educational field in the  framework of SEAMEO and 
within the context of the ASEAN Universities Network  (AUN). 

20. Both sides also shared the view that increased tourism, cultural and 
 academic exchanges as well as people to people contacts would greatly  
contribute towards better understanding between the two nations and the 
two  peoples and reaffirmed their support for promoting these exchanges. 

21. His Excellency Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra expressed his deep  
appreciation to the Government and people of the Union of Myanmar for 
the  warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to him and his 

22. His Excellency Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra extended an 
invitation  to His Excellency Senior General Than Shwe to pay an 
official visit to  Thailand. The invitation was accepted with pleasure. 

Dated: 20 June 2001. 
Y A N G O N. 

The Nation: Thaksin cannot rush diplomacy 

June 21, 2001

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has completed his trips to Laos, 
Cambodia and Burma, which have taken place over the past 10 days - 
interrupted by his Constitution Court appearance, of course. Despite his 
previous, in fact rather limited, experience as a foreign minister, the 
trips must have offered him some salutary lessons in diplomacy, 
especially that procedures cannot be rushed or, if he had so wanted, 
achieved in a crisp, decisive CEO style. Quick results can never be 
achieved given this region's delicate brand of politics. Nevertheless, 
the trips were not in vain.

Thaksin's sojourn to Laos and Cambodia have strengthened bilateral ties 
that have had a rough time of late. Nothing, of course, can mend broken 
fences and restore relations like a high-level visit, especially when it 
involves a new leader who is anxious to build up his regional stature 
and show he is progressive and open-minded. Laos offers the perfect 
example for this: having the Thai leader pay a visit is an 'insurance 
policy' showing that this landlocked neighbour will not be bullied, and 
that cooperation, especially in the economic field and the 
hydroelectricity industry, is very necessary. Laos' leaders know full 
well that a new Thai leader wants to gain quick kudos by visiting them 
and getting involved in a little chummy ramwong (traditional Thai 

Cambodia is a somewhat different kettle of fish, however. Unlike the 
other two countries, it's a fledging democracy with foreign investment 
flowing in despite some infrastructural problems. Before Thaksin's 
arrival in Phnom Penh, there was a demonstration in front of the Thai 
Embassy. That was to be expected, as it has become a permanent fixture 
of relations between the two countries that they always quarrel over 
some part of their disputed border. The friendship between Thailand and 
Cambodia has improved in recent years, especially since the last 
Cambodian refugees returned home and the simmering political situation 
in Phnom Penh began to ease, but it has yet to reach a level that could 
be described as cosy. That will not occur until the interminable 
disputes over overlapping land and maritime borders are resolved.

The most significant of trips, though, was the highly controversial 
two-day visit to Burma, which ended yesterday. Thaksin was quick to 
declare that the visit was a triumph for him, not the least because it 
fulfilled a long pledge to go there. But the outcome really wasn't 
anything out of the ordinary. The agreement on drugs cooperation and 
enforcement measures had been on the drawing board for some time. 
Exchanges of information on drugs between narcotics officials, among 
others, have been discussed repeatedly but never agreed on. 

For a long time Burma had not been in a mood to cooperate, despite the 
platitudes it often mouthed. It is now, and the junta leaders chose the 
right moment - when the Thai leader made his long-promised visit to 
Rangoon. The previous prime minister, Chuan Leekpai, was not keen on 
breaking bread with the generals. But Thaksin is a different kind of 
leader, and so Burma responded in kind. It should not be too long before 
we find out if all the trumpeted agreements over drugs and other things 
hold up and produce the results that the world so desperately wants.

During the past four months, the Thaksin government has showed an 
eagerness to improve ties with our neighbours. It must keep in mind, 
though, that as with all previous governments, policies need thorough 
thought, perseverance and firmness. With business and economic 
objectives in mind, it seems this government is determined to move ties 
ahead. But Thaksin can only claim his visits are successful if 
Thailand's integrity and national interests are well served. We will 
know soon enough


PD Burma: Burma Calendar of events

June 21, 2001

 June 19th  : Aung San Suu Kyi birthday party and Burmese 
Women's Day 
 July  : Belgium takes over EU Presidency 
 July  : 8th RFA Ministerial Meeting, Hanoi 
 July  : 34th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and Post-Ministerial 
 July  : ASEAN Summit 
 Aug. 31st- Sep.7th : World Conference against Racism and Racial 
Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance, South Africa
 December 1st : Worlds Aids Day 
 December 10th : 10th Year Anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize 
for Aung San Suu Kyi. 
 February 2002 : The fourth Bangladesh, India, Burma, Sri Lanka 
and Thailand-Economic Cooperation (BIMST-   EC) meeting, Colombo 


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