Daily News- January 11 - 2002- Thursday

  • Japanese premier in Malaysia discusses Burma democratization with UN envoy
  • Koizumi assures UN envoy of Tokyo's support for Myanmar
  • Myanmar Invites King Bhumibol to Visit Rangoon
  • Myanmar Runs Short of Teak for Export
  • Rangoon lifts fishing ban
  • Thai police chief says Myanmar migrants are to blame for begging
  • Burma alleges armed group killed seven villagers
  • Myanmar Has More Private Cinemas

  • Japanese premier in Malaysia discusses Burma democratization with UN envoy

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 10, 2002
    Text of report in English by Japanese news agency Kyodo

    Kuala Lumpur, 10 January: UN special envoy for Myanmar [Burma] Razali Ismail on Thursday [10 January] backed Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's plan to urge the democratization of the Southeast Asian country and support its stability at the same time, a Japanese official said.

    In a meeting in the Malaysian capital, Razali said it was important to pursue both goals at the same time because achieving democracy in Myanmar [Burma] could be a lengthy process, the official said.

    The comments came after Koizumi briefed Razali about Japan's stance on the country. Japan has sought a policy of engagement with the Myanmar junta, holding dialogue with the leaders while providing aid, in contrast to the United States and Europe, which have basically halted assistance to the country to show support for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Razali, a Malaysian diplomat, hailed Japan's humanitarian assistance to Myanmar and urged Koizumi to continue such aid, adding that he hopes other countries will follow suit once the political process in Myanmar moves forward.

    There have been signs of a thaw in the confrontation between the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel laureate Suu Kyi and the junta since the two sides began confidential talks in October 2000.The NLD won Myanmar's last general election in 1990 by a landslide, but was never allowed to govern. Many NLD politicians were subsequently detained, but the junta has freed them in batches since the talks started.

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    Koizumi assures UN envoy of Tokyo's support for Myanmar

    KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (AFP) - Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Thursday assured UN envoy Razali Ismail that Japan's support for troubled Myanmar remained unchanged, an official said.

    "Japan considers it important to promote democratisation efforts," Koizumi told the UN envoy for Myanmar during a visit to Kuala Lumpur, according to a Japanese foreign ministry official.

    "At the same time, it is important to provide the support necessary for stable procedures in Myanmar's nation-building," Koizumi said. "We want to proceed with the two ideas together."

    Razali, a Malaysian acting as the UN mediator between Myanmar's military junta and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, welcomed Koizumi's remarks.

    "We praise Japan's humanitarian assistance and hope Japan will continue (its support) in the future," Razali told Koizumi, according to the Japanese official.

    "I hope other countries will provide further support once the political process moves forward," the UN envoy said.

    Japan had suspended all but a small amount of humanitarian aid following the junta's 1988 seizure of power, but the flow of funds resumed in 1994.

    Its aid-for-reform strategy has been criticised in the West, notably by the United States which says that despite signs of a political thaw, it remains inappropriate to deal with Myanmar's military rulers.

    Japan is Myanmar's biggest donor, providing 1.9 billion yen (14.3 million dollars) in grant aid as well as 1.6 billion yen in technical assistance to the country in the year to March 2001.

    Razali, during his sixth visit to the military-ruled state, last month spent an unprecedented two-and-a-half hours at Aung San Suu Kyi's lakeside residence in Yangon.The talks were believed to have focused on expediting the release of political prisoners and the eventual inclusion of ethnic minorities in tripartite talks after issues between the NLD and the junta are resolved.Historic talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling State Peace and Development Council began in October 2000 but progress seems to have stalled in recent months, diplomats say.

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    Myanmar Invites King Bhumibol to Visit Rangoon

    BANGKOK, January 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar has invited His Majesty the King to visit Rangoon, according to a report of the Thai News Agency(TNA) on Thursday.Visiting Myanmar delegates, including Foreign Minister Wing Ong,made the invitation at the Sixth Joint Thai-Myanmar Commission being held in the resort island of Phuket.

    The Myanmar delegates said that Myanmar would pleasantly welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as a personal representative of His Majesty the King.

    At the meeting, Myanmar and Thai authorities agreed on bilateral cooperation in various areas, including two-way trade, fishery, development of land networks, narcotic control, and cultural exchanges.

    Myanmar also agreed to take Myanmar immigrants who illegally entered the Thai kingdom back home by setting a receiving point in Myewadi. For exiled Myanmar people, authorities of both sides would further discuss appropriate practices to address the problem.

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    Myanmar Runs Short of Teak for Export

    YANGON, January 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Myanmar is running short of teak for export as supply of them has declined considerably in the past two decades, according to the state-run Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE).

    The MTE, which is under the Ministry of Forestry, has warned that timber exporters in the country will have to depend more on logs other than teak out of such status.The shortage of teak is believed to have been due to the indiscriminate felling of trees in the forest.

    According to the MTE figures, Myanmar produced about 200,000 tons of teak from its forests each year since the fiscal year 1997-98, down from about 400,000 tons in the 1970s.To overcome teak shortage, Myanmar launched a special plantation plan five years ago and has been able to plant more than 32,400 hectares of teak.

    The figures also show that in the fiscal year 2000-01, Myanmar's forestry sector earned about 280 million U.S. dollars through timber export, of which the state sector accounted for 200 million, while the rest went to the private sector.

    The ministry had carried out forestation and reforestation projects in the country's central arid zone to prevent the region from becoming a desert in the next five decades.

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    Rangoon lifts fishing ban

    The Bangkokpost

    Rangoon has lifted its ban on fishery concessions but says only Thai-Burmese joint venture investments will be allowed.Fisheries Department deputy head Maitri Duangsawat yesterday called a meeting of 100 Ranong fishermen at a local hotel to explain the joint-venture rules.

    He said Burma had agreed to grant concessions to Thais after suspending them for seven months.However, only joint-venture investments would be allowed, and these would have to be screened.Mr Maitri said three Thai companies were interested.

    Lt-Gen Khemmachart Nitisiri, president of K Marine Corporation, said a joint venture between the firm and Myanmar KTTA had been approved.Investors would have to pay 500,000 baht a trawler every month to fish in Arakan, Irrawaddy or Mergui, he said.

    Buang Kaewkanokvijit, a fishing boat owner, said the demands were unacceptable. The cost could reach 600,000 baht for one trawler in a deep-sea fishery. The risk of losses was high.

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    Thai police chief says Myanmar migrants are to blame for begging

    MAE SOT, Thailand (AP) _ Thailand must deport child prostitutes and beggars who come from Myanmar because foreigners were getting the false impression that they were Thais, the Thai national police chief said Thursday.

    "In fact, when we check in detail we come to know that these children are from Myanmar. All authorities must cooperate to eradicate these bad things from our country," Police Gen. Sant Sarutanond told reporters on a trip to the Thai-Myanmar border. Sant, who spoke in the town of Mae Sot, 370 kilometers (230 miles) northwest of Bangkok along the border with Myanmar, appeared to be rebutting a U.N. report that named Thailand as a center for prostitution and child labor.

    Last month, a United Nations Children's Fund report estimated that there are hundrgds of thousands of children involved in the sex trade in Thailand. The Thai government says those figures are greatly exaggerated, and puts the total at 12,000-18,000.

    Sant also told local police and immigration officials that Thai officials were involved in trafficking of Myanmar migrants, and allow them to travel to areas of the country where they are not allowed. There are about 500,000 registered Myanmar migrant workers in Thailand, but many others work illegally, providing cheap labor for factories and farms.

    Increasingly, girls from Myanmar, also known as Burma, and other poor countries in Southeast Asia are being trafficked into Thailand's burgeoning sex industry. At a meeting of the Thai and Myanmar foreign ministers this week, Yangon agreed in principle to take back illegal Myanmar migrant workers deported from Thailand.

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    Burma alleges armed group killed seven villagers

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 10, 2002
    Text of report in English from "Information sheet No C-2081 (I) issued by the 'Myanmar Information Committee' in Rangoon on 10 January, carried by Myanmar Information Committee web site on 10 January

    Seven villagers from Padaunggon Village, Lawpita Village-tract in Loikaw Township, while exploring emerald stones near Manikhu abandoned village, east of Kapun Creek on 30 December afternoon, a 15-member group led by Tun Tun of KNPP (Kayinni National Progressive Party) terrorist group arrived there and asked the villagers to join their terrorist group. The villagers refused to join them, so the insurgents killed the villagers by firing shots. Six villagers were killed and one alone escaped.

    Similarly, three KNPP insurgents killed one U Kanna of Shansu village, Shadaw Township, Kayah State, at his hut, at 3:30 am [local time] on 1 January. On receiving information about the incidents, Tatmadaw [Defence Services] columns rushed to the scene and made hot pursuit on this terrorist group.

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    Myanmar Has More Private Cinemas

    YANGON, January 10 (Xinhua)--There are 201 cinemas in the whole of Myanmar, mostly owned by private enterprises, according to the Myanma Motion Picture Enterprise (MMPE), a state-run organization under the Ministry of Information.

    Of the 201 cinemas, 136 are wholly private-run, while 58 are being leased for private operation on a long-and short-term basis. The remaining seven are under the MMPE. There are about 400 million movie goers annually in Myanmar, according to the MMPE statistics.Besides, there are also over 32,000 video parlors in the country, the statistics show.

    Myanmar formed the Motion Picture Promotion and Scrutiny Board in early 1952. Up to 2000, it has since then presented a total of 243 film academy awards to successful artists. Myanmar also set up a Motion Picture Association in 1989 and a Motion Picture Museum in 1998.

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