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BurmaNet News: June 21, 2001
- Subject: BurmaNet News: June 21, 2001
- From: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 23:06:00
______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
An on-line newspaper covering Burma
June 21, 2001 Issue # 1829
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________
INSIDE BURMA _______
*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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
"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."
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
 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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