Shwe Gas Movement Activists: Sales of Arms Technology to Burma by Daewoo is Threat to Regional Security

Narinjara News

Shwe Gas Movement activists stated in their press release on 7 December that the selling of arms and technology to Burma by South Korea's Daewoo Corporation poses a threat to regional security.

Ko Wong Aung, and activists with the Shwe Gas Movement said in the press release that "the sales of arms technology to Burma was organized and soon after the initial investment by Daewoo International in the Shwe project in late 2000, and once again highlights how Burma's regime uses foreign investment to buy arms. This also threatens regional peace and stability."

The Shwe Gas Movement issued a press release welcoming the South Korean government's decision to indict fourteen South Korean executives, including Daewoo International president, Lee Tae-Yong, and the vice-president of Doosan Infracore, formerly Daewoo Heavy Industries.

The Shwe Gas movement said that in May 2002, Daewoo International signed a USD 133.8 million contract with the Burmese military regime. Since 2002, Daewoo International and six other corporations exported 480 pieces of equipment and parts to build a new arms factory in Pyay, Burma.

Furthermore, the press release reported that Daewoo International is the main operator of the Shwe Natural Gas project in Arakan State, western Burma. The project is destined to become the regime's largest source of foreign income, with estimated profits at USD 12-17 billion over the next 20 years. The gas will be exported to India and China through gas pipelines that are yet to be constructed.

"We are grateful that the South Korean legal system is now holding Daewoo International and other corporations accountable for their actions in Burma," says Kyaw Khaing, another activist with the Shwe Gas Movement in Thailand.

"However, we also urge the South Korean people and government to recognize our fears that the Daewoo investment in the Shwe gas project will directly lead to deaths and displacement of our people during the construction of the Shwe pipelines," he continued.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) claims that the Burmese army routinely uses forced labour in infrastructure projects, and the ILO is currently in the process of bringing the military regime before the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, the press release said.

Wong Aung concludes by saying, "The Shwe gas project must be stopped, until there is democracy in Burma. Only then can people participate in decision-making on this important issue without fearing persecution."