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Bkk post- Junta accepts Surayud pla
- Subject: Bkk post- Junta accepts Surayud pla
- From: tinkyi@xxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 18:18:00
Subject: Bkk post- Junta accepts Surayud plan for exchange
THAI - BURMA RELATIONS
Junta accepts Surayud plan for exchange
Military officers will learn Burmese tongue
Burmese military leaders have agreed with the army chief's idea to pilot an
exchange programme where the officers of the two countries can take up
language and educational training to foster military ties.
The programme, targetting lieutenant-colonels and colonels, could start
immediately, an army source said, adding that the idea was raised by Gen
Surayud Chulanont during his three-day official visit to Burma which
concluded last Friday.
The source said the army chief wanted soldiers to be able to speak each
other's language to ease communication barriers and forge better relations.
Gen Surayud foresees that in 10-15 years these exchange officials will reach
the upper echelons of their forces. With close personal relations and no
language difficulty, they will find it easier to establish dialogue and
The source added the army chief hailed his first official visit to Rangoon
as a success. The delegation of five persons also included Gen Surayudh's
wife, Col Jitaravadee and Maj-Gen Ronnajak Sawadkiat, the intelligence
directorate director, and toured Shan State and Mandalay, the ancient
The army commander-in-chief paid a courtesy call on Burmese Prime Minister
Gen Than Shwe, Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt, the State Peace and Development Council
secretary one, and met his counterpart Gen Maung Aye.
There were no in-depth discussions on the problems regarding the overlapping
of maritime territory off the coast of Ranong, where armed Burmese boats
reportedly fired on Thai trawlers on several occasions.
The Burmese leaders downplayed the issue and suggested the conflict could be
mitigated by a joint regional-level border committee which is due to meet
next month in Phuket, the source said.
Gen Surayud declined to press for further talks on the dispute, as it was
the army's policy to let the Foreign Ministry handle the conflict and
intervene only at the latter's request.
Gen Surayud is due to visit Cambodia on March 10.