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BurmaNet News: March 15, 2001

______________ THE BURMANET NEWS ______________
        An on-line newspaper covering Burma 
         March 15, 2001   Issue # 1756
______________ www.burmanet.org _______________

*Nation: General says Thailand treating Burma as "subordinate state" 
over border closure
*Kyodo: Karen rebels step up offensive against Myanmar military

*Bangkok Post: Chavalit's personal approach let country down China; 
Ex-PM says he never disgraced leadership
*Nation: Burmese boat reportedly fires at Thai fishing trawler in Thai 
*AFP: Thailand, Myanmar to tackle drugs issue in first foreign 
ministers' meet
*Xinhua: Myanmar Fined for World Cup Pull out
*AFP: God Army's twins' fate uncertain after tearful reunion with mother
*Kyodo: Japanese teacher remembers Bush as spoiled student

*Xinhua: Malaysia, Myanmar to Sign Barter Trade Agreement

*SPDC: Press conference--Burma ?clarifies? Thailand's unilateral closure 
of Tachilek-Mae Sai Friendship Bridge

__________________ INSIDE BURMA ____________________

Nation: General says Thailand treating Burma as "subordinate state" over 
border closure

15 Mar 01 

Excerpt from report in English by Thai newspaper The Nation web site on 
15 March 

A top Burmese military official accused the Thai army yesterday of 
treating his country like a "subordinate state" after a border skirmish 
last month, and vowed that Burma would continue to keep a key border 
checkpoint closed. 

Maj-Gen Kyaw Win, deputy director of Defence Services Intelligence, said 
the Thai military unilaterally shut a busy border checkpoint last month 
and tried to reopen it this week without consulting Burma. 

The Thai army had also laid down six conditions for reopening the 
checkpoint, he said. "They behaved as if Burma were a subordinate state, 
under their influence," he told a news conference. "They failed to abide 
by international norms set for promoting good neighbourly relations." 

Thai officials closed a bridge linking Mae Sai in Thailand with Tachilek 
in Burma after a series of skirmishes last month... 

Rangoon's latest salvo came a day after it accused Thailand of making 
Burma a scapegoat for its failure to tackle drug problems at home... 

Thailand's Foreign Ministry yesterday issued a statement denying the 
allegation. A spokesman said the ministry regretted that the Burmese 
government would take such an attitude towards the problem of drug 
production and trafficking, especially with regard to methamphetamines. 

"Recognizing the seriousness of the drug scourge, the Thai government, 
far from putting the blame on any country, has undertaken to accelerate 
efforts aimed at drug prevention and suppression as one of its most 
urgent national issues," the spokesman said. 

The international community has recognized Thailand's past and ongoing 
efforts to address its drug problem and has applauded the government's 
earnestness in making the war against drugs a top national priority, he 

The spokesman urged the Burmese government to show its will and 
determination to seriously eradicate drug manufacturing in the locations 
controlled by the United Wa State Army. 

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who last weekend hosted a 
high-profile conference to fight the narcotics problem, rebutted the 
opposition's accusation that he embarrassed Rangoon by exposing the Wa 
town of Mong Yawn, which lies in Burmese territory. 

"We simply pointed out a minority group in Burma that has posed a threat 
to our youth. We have not blamed Rangoon," he said. 


Kyodo: Karen rebels step up offensive against Myanmar military 

BANGKOK, March 14

The Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic rebel group in Myanmar, is 
intensifying its armed offensive against the Myanmar military as more 
Karen people are being tortured by junta forces, KNU Secretary General 
Pado Mansah said Wednesday. 

On March 6, 50 KNU rebels with heavy weapons attacked a military outpost 
at Wekalay, a village 120 kilometers from the southern province of 
Moulmein, killing three Myanmar soldiers and burning road construction 

The attack was the first since 1997. Karen soldiers captured the 
outpost, which contained about 70 government troops at the time, but 
relinquished it after half an hour. 

Since 1997, more than 400 houses of Karen people have been torched and 
several women raped by Myanmar soldiers, Mansah said. 

The KNU is the largest group representing the ethnic minority in 
Myanmar. It first took up arms in 1949 to demand autonomy from the 
central government of the time. 


___________________ REGIONAL/INTERNATIONAL___________________

Bangkok Post: Chavalit's personal approach let country down China; Ex-PM 
says he never disgraced leadership 

March 15, 2001 

Former prime minister Chuan Leekpai yesterday defended his policy on 
Burma and said his administration would never disgrace itself by using 
"personal ties" for its own gains. 

He was responding to remarks on Monday by Defence Minister Chavalit 
Yongchaiyudh, who blamed the Chuan government for failing to improve 
ties with Burma. 

"The previous government had a clear-cut policy not to exploit personal 
ties to secure logging contracts or other concessions. That kind of 
practice makes Burma look down on us," Mr Chuan said. Relations with 
Burma would not have sunk this low if the two sides sat down and talked, 
Gen Chavalit said, citing Rangoon's failure to keep its promise to open 
its side of the Mae Sai-Tachilek checkpoint. 

The deputy premier criticised Mr Chuan for not visiting Burma after he 
was invited by prime minister Than Shwe. 

The Democrat-led administration tried to resolve disputes with Burma 
through proper channels, said Mr Chuan, who insisted there was no need 
for him to visit Rangoon. 

Mr Chuan also criticised the government for releasing photographs of 
alleged drug manufacturing activities at the United Wa State Army's Mong 
Yawn settlement. 

Deputy defence minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa defended the pictures 
and said the Thai people had the right to know. 

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinwatra denied ill intentions toward Rangoon 
and said he never implicated any Burmese leader in the drug trade. 

"We talked about the minority groups in Burma, which use the border 
areas to manufacture narcotics. I said nothing about the Burmese 
government," he said. 

Gen Yutthasak said the Thaksin administration declared war on drugs, not 
on any particular country. 

He said high-level talks would be held if discussions at the Regional 
Border Committee-level did not succeed. 

Third Army commander Lt-Gen Wattanachai Chaimuanwong will lead the Thai 
delegation in the April 1 talks. 

Ampa Santimetanedol 


Nation: Burmese boat reportedly fires at Thai fishing trawler in Thai 

15 Mar 01 

A Thai fishing trawler was chased into Thai waters off Ranong Province 
yesterday by a Burmese navy patrol boat that opened fire at another Thai 
trawler, slightly injuring two Burmese crew members on board, a Thai 
navy source said. 

The medium-sized Burmese gunboat fired M-40 machine guns at the 15-metre 
Pornnimitr 1 with its crew of 10 at about 9am local time yesterday, 
inflicting minor damage, the source said. 

"We were informed by the crew of Pornnimitr 1 that the scene of the 
attack was in Thai waters. Our examination of the spot proved that the 
claim was true," he said. He suspected that the Burmese patrol boat, 
with the number 441, intruded into Thai waters while in hot pursuit of 
another Thai trawler that was illegally fishing in its territorial 

"From what I was told, it may be not Pornnimitr 1 that trespassed on 
Burmese waters. The Burmese gunboat chased a Thai vessel into Thai 
waters only to face many Thai boats. So it chose the damaged ship as a 
new target," he said. 

Thai navy chief of staff Adm Taweesak Somapa said the incident occurred 
in a no-man's zone in the Andaman Sea but declined to say if the 
confrontation was in retaliation for the Thai premier's strong criticism 
of Burma as a major source of illicit drugs. 

Another navy source said the navy would ask the Foreign Affairs Ministry 
to send Burma a protest note. 


AFP: Thailand, Myanmar to tackle drugs issue in first foreign ministers' 

BANGKOK, March 15 (AFP) - Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai 
said Thursday he will ask Myanmar for its cooperation over the drugs 
crisis during the first talks with his counterpart Win Aung in Chile 
later this month. 

 Surakiart said the meeting would take place on the sidelines of the 
inaugural session of the East Asia-Latin America Forum to be held in 
Santiago from March 29-30. 
 "We will ask if it is possible for Myanmar to sign a drugs suppression 
and prevention cooperation agreement with Thailand, like China has 
done," he said in a radio interview. 
 The meeting with Win Aung will be the highest-level talks between the 
two neighbours since Thailand's new government led by Prime Minister 
Thaksin Shinawatra was sworn in last month. 

 The issue of massive drugs production within Myanmar's borders, which 
is feeding a serious addiction crisis in Thailand, has sparked a growing 
rift between the two sides in recent weeks. 

 Thaksin declared a "war on drugs" earlier this month at an 
unprecedented meeting of top officials charged with thrashing out a 
coordinated strategy to close down the narcotics trade. 

 The premier said he would demand explanations from Myanmar's generals 
over the deadly flow of methamphetamines from jungle refineries operated 
by Yangon-allied ethnic druglords. 

 Myanmar lashed out at the tough new approach, saying Thailand should 
put its own house in order before trying to use its neighbour as a 
"scapegoat" for its drugs problems. 

 As the sparring continued, the Thai foreign ministry issued a strongly 
worded statement late Wednesday that criticised the junta for its tetchy 
response to the Thai initiative. 

 The ministry "expressed regret to learn that the government of Myanmar 
would take such an attitude towards the problem of drug production and 
trafficking, especially methamphetamines." 

 It invited Myanmar to show the international community it was serious 
about fighting drugs, "which is a serious problem threatening regional 
security, the health and social well-being of all peoples in the ASEAN 

 Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations 
(ASEAN) as well as China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and 
twelve Latin America countries are to attend the Santiago meeting, 
Surakiart said. 


Xinhua: Myanmar Fined for World Cup Pull out

GENEVE, Switzerland, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar's football association 
has been fined 23,500 dollars by FIFA for failing to play a 2002 World 
Cup qualifing match in Iran on Thursday. The FIFA Organising Committee 
for the World Cup said the fine should be given to Iran FA to help 
offset their expenses for the cancelled match. The match should have 
been played in November in Terhan but Myanmar pulled out at the last 
minute and withdrew from the 2002 World Cup. Myanmar have also been 
banned from competing in the 2006 World Cup.

2001-03-15 Thu 10:40 


AFP: God Army's twins' fate uncertain after tearful reunion with mother 

SUAN PHUNG, Thailand, March 15 (AFP) - The boy leaders of the God Army's 
militia, who were captured two months ago on the Myanmar border, have 
been reunited with their mother. 

 Luther and Johnny Htoo burst into tears when their mother Mah Kae was 
brought from a refugee camp earlier this week to see her 13-year-old 
sons, said police who have been holding them in this frontier town. 

 However, the pair's fate remains uncertain, according to officials in 
the western province of Ratchaburi who are considering giving them 
refugee status that will entitle them to asylum in Thailand. 

 "The committee which will decide how they will be classified has until 
now not begun to meet," said Suan Pheung District Chief Payakphan 

 Mah Kae, 48, who posed for photographs Thursday with her elfin-faced 
sons, said she had been corresponding with them from the refugee camp in 
far-off Pha Song Yang where she and the twins' father have been living. 

 "We knew they had been captured because they sent us a letter to the 
refugee camp where we are staying, and we sent one back, so we that's 
how we contacted each other," she said as she nursed the boys' young 

 The painfully shy twins, who appear years younger than their age, made 
halting replies as they were asked what they believed the future held in 
store for them. 

 "It is in the hands of God," they said. 

 Payakphan said the pair were in good health, despite their heavy 
smoking habit, and that they would also be reunited with their father 

 After their capture by Thai troops in January, the Htoo brothers 
debunked the myths surrounding their militia band and said they dreamed 
only of returning to Myanmar and going to school like ordinary children. 

 They downplayed their followers' belief that they possessed magical 
powers that made them and their fighters invincible in battle against 
Myanmar troops, saying the stories that they were impervious to gunfire 
were not true. 

 Their mystical anti-Myanmar rebel movement, which had gained widespread 
international publicity, was finally hunted down over a bloody New 
Year's Eve raid on a village in Ratchaburi province. 

 Since then the twins and some dozen supporters, mostly women and 
children, have been held at this border police headquarters, living 
together in a small cottage as their future is considered. 

 Investigators are trying to determine if the twins were involved in the 
seizure of a major Ratchaburi hospital last year, carried out by God's 
Army fighters and rebels from another militia band. 

 However, the remainder of the group's members being held here look set 
to escape punishment over the raid and previous attacks it has staged. 


Kyodo: Japanese teacher remembers Bush as spoiled student

TOKYO March 15 Kyodo - As lame-duck Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori prepares 
for his first summit with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington 
next week, one of Bush's former teachers at Harvard Business School says 
he does not anticipate any rapid improvement in Japan-U.S. relations. 
''It's safe not to have a romantic illusion about President Bush,'' 
counseled Yoshihiro Tsurumi, now professor of international business at 
Baruch College of the City University of New York. ''He is more 
conservative than his father,'' former President George Bush. 

Tsurumi, who taught Bush macroeconomic policy and international business 
at Harvard in the mid-1970s, says the 43rd U.S. president is exactly 
what his American critics deride him as -- ''a spoiled brat.'' 

Bush, the first U.S. president with an MBA degree, has not changed since 
his school days, as seen through presidential debates and other 
appearances, he says. 

''He has been totally dependent on his father,'' Tsurumi said in a 
recent interview in Tokyo with Kyodo News. 

He recalled a conversation with Bush the student about a summer job at a 
time when his father headed the U.S. liaison office in Beijing. ''I told 
him then, 'You could become a fraternity president but not a CEO,''' the 
Japanese professor said. 

Tsurumi says Bush is ''a conservative with Americanism rather than an 
internationalist with a multilateral vision.'' Bush and members of his 
administration, many of whom worked under presidents Ronald Reagan and 
Bush senior, consider Japan ''a partner it can deal with so easily,'' 
whereas China is a competitor and adversary Washington takes seriously. 

''Under U.S. leadership, the United States will demand Japan to 
contribute not only money but personnel as well'' for collective defense 
in dealing with China, the professor said. 

Although Japan's leverage is limited in light of the political gridlock 
at home, Tsurumi said he believes Japan and the U.S. can review their 
policy toward Beijing, in cooperation with Taiwan. 

''Unfortunately, Japanese diplomats think diplomacy means wining and 
dining,'' he said, referring to an unfolding embezzlement scandal 
involving a former logistics chief at the Foreign Ministry. 

But with Mori's reign certain to end in the near future, Tsurumi said it 
is not clear how far the U.S. can go in pressing Japan to take 
additional structural deregulatory measures. 

The Japanese government will face a tough U.S. trade negotiating team 
led by Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, described by Ryutaro 
Hashimoto, a former prime minister and currently minister in charge of 
administrative reform, as ''the most terrifying'' member of the Bush 

As a senior Treasury Department and later State Department official, 
Zoellick gave Hashimoto, who also served as finance and later trade 
minister, a hard time. 

Tsurumi speculated that Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, a lifelong 
friend of Bush, will be tasked with formulating a vision for U.S. trade 
policy while Zoellick will operate more ''as head of shock troops.'' The 
Bush team also includes Andrew Card, his chief of staff and a former top 
U.S. auto lobbyist. 

Tsurumi, who holds an MBA and a DBA from Harvard University, has lived 
in North America for nearly 40 years and written more than two dozen 

Despite the absence of bright spots on the Japan-U.S. horizon, Tsurumi 
suggested remedial steps for Tokyo to improve its image in the U.S. 

They include suspending economic aid to Myanmar's military government 
until the start of serious dialogue with pro-democracy leader Aung San 
Suu Kyi and facilitating deposed Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's 
departure from Japan when his visa expires in May on condition his 
safety in Peru is guaranteed. 

Tsurumi also said Japan and the European Union can cooperate 


_______________ ECONOMY AND BUSINESS _______________

Xinhua: Malaysia, Myanmar to Sign Barter Trade Agreement

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia and Myanmar will soon 
finalize an agreement to facilitate the conduct of barter trade between 
the two countries, Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister 
Rafidah Aziz said Thursday. There is also a need for both governments to 
facilitate and promote bilateral trade by simplifying or removing 
various obstacles, she said in a statement issued in conjunction with a 
three-day trade and investment mission led by her to Myanmar which ended 

The Minister outlined several concerns of Malaysian companies in doing 
business in Myanmar, including the multiple exchange rates in force and 
the limit imposed on the transaction/remittance overseas of each 
company. She advised the businessmen at both ends of the trade 
connection to mingle more and create a bond that would benefit bilateral 
ties between the two countries. Barter trade is an important component 
of the bilateral trade between Malaysia and Myanmar, which currently 
amounts to 600 million ringgit (157.89 million U.S. dollars) and 800 
million ringgit (210.52 million U.S. dollars) a year. Products exchanged 
through the barter trade arrangement include agricultural products, 
fish, timber products, electrical items, clocks, plastic goods, used 
motorcycles and bicycles, and used vehicle parts. 

Total trade between Malaysia and Myanmar last year amounted to 1.142 
billion ringgit (0.3 billion U.S. dollars), a 3.1 percent increase over 
that in 1999, with Malaysia's main exports to Myanmar including crude 
petroleum, vegetable oil, margarine, and plastic and glass products and 
its main direct imports from Myanmar including vegetables, natural 
rubber, wood and fish. Meanwhile, Malaysian companies are actively 
involved in 12 projects in Myanmar with investments totaling 1.248 
billion ringgit (0.32 billion U.S. dollars) in areas of furniture 
manufacturing, production of apparels, toys, food products and oil and 
gas, as well as direct participation in hotel, tourism and real estate 


SPDC: Press conference--Burma ?clarifies? Thailand's unilateral closure 
of Tachilek-Mae Sai Friendship Bridge

A press conference to explain the true situation concerning the closure 
of Tachilek-Mae Sai Friendship Bridge was held at the Defense Services 
Guest House on Inya Road in Yangon [Rangoon] at 0930 today. It was 
attended by Maj Gen Kyaw Win, deputy chief of the Office of Strategic 
Studies [OSS] and deputy director of Directorate of Defense Services 
Intelligence [DDSI], Deputy Foreign Minister U Khin Maung Win, Deputy 
Home Affairs Minister Brig Gen Thura Myint Maung, Deputy Information 
Minister Brig Gen Aung Thein, heads of division from OSS and senior 
military officers from the Defense Ministry, News and Periodicals 
Enterprise [NPE] Managing Director U Tin Kha, responsible officials from 
the State Peace and Development Council [SPDC] Chairman's Office, U Hla 
Tun director of news from NPE, chief editors from the newspapers, U Win 
Tin, chief editor from Myanmar [Burma] News Agency--Domestic, U Sein 
Win, patron of Foreign Correspondents Club of Myanmar [FCCM], U Sao Kai 
Hpa, FCCM chairman, U Nyunt Tin, FCCM secretary, member correspondents, 
and responsible personnel.

At the press conference Maj Gen Kyaw Win, OSS deputy chief and DDSI 
deputy director, said: Local and foreign journalists were invited to the 
meeting to inform the public about Myanmar's continued closure of the 
Tachilek-Mae Sai Friendship Bridge although the Thai side opened it at 
1135 on 12 March. After the outbreak of armed encounters at the Tachilek 
border, the bridge was unilaterally closed by the Mae Sai side at 0705 
on 13 February without informing Myanmar. At the same time, all border 
trade came to a halt as the Thai No 3 Military Region issued a directive 
to indefinitely close all the legal and illegal border checkpoints to 
Thailand which are under its control along the border at Chiang Mai, 
Chiang Rai, and Mae Hong Son. It was found that the Thai authorities and 
responsible organizations did not inform the border authorities from 
Myanmar side, or the Township Border Committee, TBC, or the Myanmar 
Embassy and Military Attache's Office in Bangkok, or the Myanmar 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the unilateral closure of the border. 
As the friendship bridge used by local people and citizens of both 
countries as the main travel link was unilaterally closed under the Thai 
military directive, the Myanmar side also closed all arrivals and 
departures through the bridge from Tachilek on the same day at 0750. The 
flow of border trade between the peoples of the two countries came to a 
stop due to the closure of all the border gates including the friendship 
bridge. Concerning the bridge closure, the Thai military officials gave 
a reason that it was closed for security reasons to protect their 
territory from intrusion by Myanmar troops. 

They also prohibited exporting of rice, medicines, and fuel oil to 
Myanmar side and even prevented goods from arriving via the Golden 
Triangle Region, Laos, and the Chinese border along the Mekong River. It 
can be seen that the Thai side did so with the aim of cutting food, 
medicine, and fuel supplies to the Defense Services columns and the 
regional militia. Myanmar did not face any big problem apart from a 
slight rise in commodity and fuel oil prices as a direct result of the 
border closure but the Thai merchants and small traders faced economic 
losses owing to the halt in trading of regional produce. Moreover, 
wholesalers also faced financial losses as their export and import 
business stopped and they had to store the goods. Thai merchants and 
small traders in Mae Sai disappointed with such economic failures 
carried their unsold goods and local produce by car and dumped them in 
front of Mae Sai Police Station on 8 March as a show of protest. 
According to the news reports from Thailand it was known that the border 
closure had inflicted daily losses of millions of bahts [Thai currency 
unit] in Mae Sai. 

The local Thai people and traders, disappointed with the current 
situation, plan to stage protests while the locals took out their 
frustration on the media persons, as they were exaggerating the 
information in order to sell their news reports. According to the Chiang 
Rai District Chamber of Commerce it is known that Mae Sai has the 
highest income from border trade of any border town. The annual trade 
between Myanmar and Thailand reached nearly three billion baths with the 
town holding the No 1 position in border trade. The unilateral closure 
has affected the town a great deal. Due to the above-mentioned 
situations, Commander of Thai No 3 Military Region Lt Gen Watanachai 
said on 7 March that as the situation at the borders have returned to 
normalcy all border checkpoints including Mae Sai-Tachilek and Mae 
Sot-Myawadi would be opened on 12 March. But it was known that the 
directive prohibiting the export of necessary supplies including 
medicines, food, and fuel oil for the Myanmar Defense Services was still 

Though the announcement on the opening of the bridge was made on Thai 
domestic TV channels and in Mae Sai, the Thais never sent any 
information or made any consultation with the Myanmar side. Lt Gen 
Watanachai arrived Mae Sai on 12 March at 0700 and discussed the opening 
of the bridge with Thai officials. 

At 0745, a delegation from the Thai Immigration Department arrived at 
the Myanmar side, met with Myanmar officials, and explained the 
following six points regarding the opening of the bridge: 
1. The friendship bridge will be opened on 12 March at 1045. 
2. No vehicle will be allowed to cross the bridge and all arrivals must 
be on foot. 
3. The bridge will be opened daily from 0600 to 1800. 
4. Arrival or departure at the border gate will be permitted only to 
Thai and Myanmar citizens. No foreigner will be allowed to enter or 
5. All arrivals or departures will be permitted only a day's stay and 
overstays will face legal action: and 
6. Complete papers and documents are required for all arrivals and 

Conditions presented by the Thai Immigration delegation were not the 
facts discussed with the Myanmar side. It was found that these facts 
were the ones which they unilaterally fixed. Therefore officials from 
our side just met them and no discussions were made. At 1235 they 
reopened the Mae Sai side of the Friendship Bridge and there were no 
official contact with our side at that time. Everything was done 
according to the instructions of the No 3 Military Region.

 At 1230, an official letter from Chairman of Mae Sai TBC dated 11 March 
was received which contain the following points in connection with the 
opening of the bridge. a. to meet members of border committee on both 
sides in the middle of the Friendship Bridge b. To delay the traffic 
temporarily but pedestrians can go on foot after opening of the bridge 
from 6 am to 6 pm. c. To delay entry for tourists in order to avoid 
unnecessary problems d. 

To permit transport of daily foodstuffs on manageable scale except 
various kinds of fuel, rice, medicines, and vehicles and spare parts. e. 
To permit the return of vehicles left in Thailand and Myanmar after 
inspection by officials of both sides. After opening the bridge on their 
side, the letter was sent to us only when we did not open the bridge 
from our side. They took it for granted thinking that we would open the 
bridge if they did. Their letter was written like a form in which 
Myanmar was to follow the unilateral conditions they stated. 

Looking back at the unilateral closing of the Friendship Bridge by the 
Thai side, reopening of the bridge without official information, and the 
unilateral decision to state regulations on using the bridge, the Thai 
army considered that Myanmar had to follow their acts regarding border 
issues between the two countries. They treated us like a satellite state 
under their influence. Ignoring the equality between the two countries, 
mutual respect, good neighborliness, and international law, procedures, 
and customs on border issues, they have treated us like a satellite 
country that should follow their desire. Moreover, Chairman of the Thai 
TBC said unfairly that although Thailand opened the border, Myanmar 
didn't. Despite opening the border checkpoint under the agreement 
between the two countries, Myanmar didn't open its checkpoint. So 
Myanmar did not keep her word and the people from both sides were not 
satisfied with this. 

It showed the position that Myanmar did not need to depend on Thailand 
and Myanmar had no goodwill on opening the checkpoint. The truth is that 
Thai officials did not inform the opening of the bridge in advance. It 
was unilaterally opened because the flow of commodity stopped and the 
Thai people and traders, who were suffering great losses, threatened 
protests. The Friendship Bridge reopened according to their will without 
giving any information to Myanmar Embassy and Office of Military Attache 
in Bangkok and the TBC. 

Due to their biased acts, Myanmar still closes the bridge on her side. 
The Friendship Bridge on Myanmar side will be closed as long as regional 
authorities do not receive any instruction from the superiors. These 
clarifications are Myanmar's correct stand and attitude. The press 
conference ended after Maj. Gen. Kyaw Win replied to queries raised by 
the journalists. Similarly, the true facts concerning the closure of 
Tachilek-Mae Sai Friendship Bridge and checkpoint were explained to 
military attaches of foreign missions in Myanmar at the same venue at 
1130. General Staff Officer--Grade-I of OSS Lt Col Hla Min explained the 
matter on Thailand's unilateral closing of the bridge while OSS heads of 
departments Col Kyaw Thein and Col Thein Swe answered questions raised 
by the military attaches.


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