Daily News-November 03 - 2001- Saturday

  • Koizumi to meet with leaders of Myanmar, Laos in Brunei
  • Burma's Than Shwe to attend ASEAN summit in Brunei
  • Japan, Burma sign debt relief agreement
  • Forced labor for yet another death railway
  • Army commander in Bokpyin warns Muslims not to create problem
  • KNU Denies Ceasefire Talks Taking Place

  • Koizumi to meet with leaders of Myanmar, Laos in Brunei

    TOKYO, Nov. 2 Kyodo - Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is scheduled to hold separate talks with leaders of Myanmar and Laos on Monday on the sidelines of the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its three Northeast Asian partners in Brunei, a Japanese official said Friday.
    Burma's Than Shwe to attend ASEAN summit in Brunei

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 2, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese TV on 2 November

    Sr Gen Than Shwe, chairman of the State Peace and Development Council and prime minister of the Union of Myanmar, will leave for Brunei Darussalam in the near future at the invitation of the King of Brunei Darussalam, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah to attend the Seventh ASEAN summit, the Meetings of the ASEAN Heads of State/Government and Heads of State/Government of the People's Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea which will be held in Bandar Seri Begawan.
    Japan, Burma sign debt relief agreement

    YANGON, Nov. 2, Kyodo - Japan on Thursday agreed to provide Burma debt relief of 1.8 billion yen, the Japanese Embassy in Burma said Friday. Japanese Ambassador to Burma Shigeru Tsumori and Burma Deputy Finance Minister Brig. Gen. Than Tun signed and exchanged notes on the debt relief Thursday evening in Rangoon, according to a press release issued by the embassy.

    Japan, Burma's largest aid donor, had extended 402.9 billion yen to Burma by the time it was declared a least developed country in December 1987. Since then, Japan has extended debt relief grants to Burma regularly to relieve the burden of debt owed by the Burma government. The arrangement is aimed at eventually writing off the entire debt. Rangoon and Tokyo signed the previous agreement for debt relief of nearly 2 billion yen in March.
    Forced labor for yet another death railway

    Shan Herald Agency for News- No: 11 - 02:

    Sources that fled recently into Thailand told S.H.A.N. the Burma Army had been conscripting people in southern Shan State for labor in the construction of a new railroad from Hsihseng to Kunhing.

    They said the Burma Army had been busy recruiting laborers since the visit to Kunhing by Gen Maung Aye, Vice Chairman of the ruling military council and army commander, on 23 October.

    "In Namzang township alone, 240 people, age between 18-55, have begun the task of clearing the area for the railroad," said one of the sources, who, along with others, requested anonymity. He said they were working under the supervision of Captain Than Naing Oo, Company 5, IB 66.

    Myanma Alin, the official bulletin, reported on 25 October that Gen Maung Aye flew to Namzang, 62 miles east of Taunggyi, to inspect the project sites and met with the officials concerned, including the 55th Light Infantry Division.

    Shan Human Rights Foundation reports in its illustrated The Shan Case (1993): The 102-mile long Loikaw-Aungban railway was built with the blood, sweat, tears, lives, money, homes and lands of the people. And now, since January 6 1993, the same has been happening with the Shwenyaung-Namsang railroad. People of both sexes, aged between 15 and 59, are being ordered to work for weeks. Absentees are fined K. 3,000 upwards. The project would last two and a half years, according to the sources.
    Army commander in Bokpyin warns Muslims not to create problem

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 2, 2001
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 31 October

    Local authorities have summoned Muslim residents in Bokpyin, Tenasserim Division, and warned them not to clash with the local Buddhists in Bokpyin Township for any reason. A colonel from the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] warned them that action would be taken if a clash breaks out according to military rules and regulations.

    DVB correspondent Myint Maung Maung reports as follows:

    [Myint Maung Maung] On 25 October Maj Zaw Win, chairman of Bokpyin Township Council, summoned Muslim residents from eight major wards and 14 villages in the township to the sports stadium. Addressing the gathering, Lt-Col Tin Maung Than, commander of No. 224 Infantry Battalion, warned local military units will not tolerate any problem arising in Bokpyin Township and villages over the US-Afghanistan issue, Buddhist-Islam religious conflict, or any other issue and that the problem would be settled according to military rules and regulations. He said no gathering and assembly to pray for deaths of Muslims in any country will be allowed.
    KNU Denies Ceasefire Talks Taking Place

    The Irrawaddy
    By Ko Thet

    October 31, 2001—The Karen National Union’s (KNU) supposed talks with the Burmese government regarding a ceasefire agreement have been fabricated, according to a KNU official. The rumor claimed that the two parties met in Bangkok last week, but KNU General Secretary Phado Mahn Sha denied the alleged meeting ever occurred.

    "The KNU did not talk with the regime; this news is just a rumor. Our troops are still fighting with government forces throughout our controlled areas. The government has actually stepped up efforts against us now that the rainy season is ending," Phado Mahn Sha told The Irrawaddy.

    The KNU is the most powerfully armed ethnic minority group in Burma that is currently fighting against government troops. The KNU has 12,000 troops based along the Thai-Burma border. KNU officials met four times with military officials during 1995-1996 to discuss a ceasefire agreement but the two sides were never able to agree on a settlement.

    During the Burmese junta’s Secretary One Lt-Gen Khin Nyunt’s recent trip to Bangkok, he met with Thai Third Army Commander Gen Wattanachai to discuss Burmese insurgent groups operating from Thai soil. Phado Mahn Sha said that he has not heard anything from the Thai government regarding this meeting.