Daily News- January 24 - 2002- Thursday

  • US warns Myanmar on nuclear reactor
  • Russia set to start Burma nuclear reactor project by 2005
  • Rebels wounded in Karen-Mon clash sent to Thai hospital
  • U20:Thailand storm back to beat Singapore
  • Call to introduce direct air link with Myanmar
  • Concerns over Burma's nuclear plans
  • Druglord meets spy chief

  • US warns Myanmar on nuclear reactor

    (01/23/2002) (Agencies)

    The United States warned Myanmar on Tuesday that it must honor its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, after Yangon signalled that it intended to build a nuclear reactor with Russian help.

    The military-ruled state, often a target of US ire for suppressing a democracy movement and its much-criticised human rights record, said earlier Monday that it wanted to erect a nuclear research reactor.

    "We expect the government of Burma to live up to its obligations and to not pursue production of weapons grade fissile material," said a State Department official on condition of anonymity using the country's former name.

    The official declined to say if Washington was concerned over Myanmar's capacity to maintain a safe, secure nuclear site, or whether US officials would address the project in discussions with Russia. Washington's response to the Myanmar nuclear plan was a marked contrast to its frequently unflattering appraisal of the country's human rights record and political situation.

    Some observers in Southeast Asia have questioned whether the ruling junta, which already has trouble maintaining its creaking electricity grid has the expertise and scientific base necessary to safeguarding nuclear materials .

    In a statement issued late Monday, Myanmar's Deputy Foreign Minister Khin Maung Win said the junta had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its intention to construct the reactor which would be used "for peaceful purposes" .

    Russia said last February that it planned to enter talks with Myanmar on building a nuclear reactor in the Southeast Asian country. Media reports have said hundreds of Myanmar scientists are now in Russia receiving training.

    Khin Maung Win said that under the Non-Proliferation Treaty which Myanmar signed in 1992, it had the right to pursue "the peaceful use and application of nuclear technology". He denied reports that Myanmar has secretly brought two Pakistani nuclear scientists into the country to help it fulfill its nuclear ambitions.

    Thailand's Bangkok Post has reported that the Vienna-based IAEA was concerned about the plans to build a reactor in Myanmar and had asked Moscow to provide details of the negotiations.

    During an inspection last year, an IAEA mission found that the country's safety standards were "well below the minimum the body would regard as acceptable," it quoted an unnamed official with the agency as saying .

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    Russia set to start Burma nuclear reactor project by 2005

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 23, 2002
    Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax

    Moscow, 23 January: The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry has submitted a draft agreement on construction of a research nuclear reactor in Myanmar [Burma].

    "The draft has been coordinated with other agencies and the government might endorse it in the first quarter of this year. The Atomic Energy Ministry will start this project in 3 or 4 years," a ministry source told Interfax.

    The Atomic Energy Ministry's press service did not disclose the value of the project. Experts estimate it at over 100m dollars, plus the cost of a laboratory that should be linked to the research reactor.

    "A light water reactor of the basin type with a heat capacity of 15 MW" will be built, the Atomic Energy Ministry's press service reported.

    "Myanmar is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and therefore it [the agency] will control all work in this Asian country," the press service said.

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    Rebels wounded in Karen-Mon clash sent to Thai hospital

    BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Jan 23, 2002
    Text of report by Burmese opposition radio on 21 January

    According to border sources, a battle broke out between the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, DKBA, and a Mon separatist group led by Nai Pan Nyunt [breakaway faction of the New Mon State Party, NMSP, that signed a cease-fire deal with Rangoon] near Kyawpalu Village in Phayathonzu region on the Burma-Thai border on 18 January.

    The fighting started when the Mon separatist group ordered a gravel truck operated by the DKBA coming from Chaungzon Village to Phayathonzu to stop for inspection. In the ensuing battle, Cpl Saw Kha Law and Pvt Min Thi Tun from the DKBA were wounded. Since Phayathonsu station hospital was unable to provide any medical treatment because of the seriousness of the injuries the wounded were sent to Sangklaburi's Ormali hospital with the help of the chairman of No 2 Thai Border Committee.

    Border sources claimed that as Rangoon junta's LIB [Light Infantry Battalion] No 550 military column, the KNU [Karen National Union], the NMSP, the DKBA, and Nai Pan Nyunt-led NMSP faction are all active around the Phayathonzu area, the region has become complicated and unstable.

    U20:Thailand storm back to beat Singapore

    The Bangkokpost
    Tor Chittinand

    After a slow start, Thailand recovered to defeat Singapore 5-1 in the inaugural Asean Youth U20 Football Championship at Thai-Japanese Stadium yesterday. In the other match, Malaysia defeated Burma 2-1.

    The tournament is being hosted jointly by Thailand and Cambodia. In Phnom Penh, Vietnam defeated Cambodia 3-1.Cambodia and Vietnam are drawn with the Philippines, Laos and Brunei.

    Today's programme in Bangkok: 4pm. Thailand v Indonesia (live on TV Channel 7); 6pm. Singapore v Burma.

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    Call to introduce direct air link with Myanmar

    The Independent Bangladesh

    Bangladeshi business leaders said direct air link between Dhaka and Yangon and improving shipping facility would reduce trade gap between the two countries, which in favour of Myanmar, reports BSS.

    The opinion was expressed when Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh U Ohn Thwin called on President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) Matiur Rahman yesterday at his office. He exchanged views with the members of the DCCI Board of Directors.

    Welcoming the ambassador, the DCCI President said that the trade relation between the two countries have been declining in spite of having good opportunities for further development. "Business sides from both the sides should come forward to increase the border trade and business," he said.

    The ambassador also expressed the hope that the relation between the two friendly countries would further be strengthened in the days to come. He also underscored the need for reaching more consensus of understanding through concerted efforts to achieve the huge growth of national economy for both the countries.

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    Concerns over Burma's nuclear plans

    From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

    International concerns have been raised over Burma's decision to build a nuclear reactor with help from Russia.

    The United States, Europe and China say Burma is not adhering to advice from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), on setting up a regulatory framework to ensure the safety of the nuclear plant.

    The European Commission said without the intervention of a independent regulatory body, operational and maintenance standards might not be sufficient to prevent radioactive leaks.

    The country's military government says the reactor is needed to produce Isotopes for the medical industry.

    A BBC science correspondent says Burma's partner, Russia, does not itself have a good safety record, with three of its reactors having been shut down because of malfunctions in the past week alone.

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    Druglord meets spy chief

    Shan Heral Agency for News
    21 January 2002

    Fugitive drug-lord Wei Hsiaokang had an audience with Burma's No. 3 citizen on the eve of the 10-day trade fair held in the city of Tachilek, opposite Chiangrai, reported S.H.A.N. reporter Moengzay today (18 February).

    The meeting was held at the Military Operations Command post near the Tachilek airport, 12 km north of the city on 17 January evening, said an informed source. Details of the meeting however were not disclosed.

    According to the source, Gen Khin Nyunt crossed the Friendship Bridge between the two countries today at 08:45 to receive "Elder brother" Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh in Maesai and went to the Golden Triangle Resort together.Both generals officially opened the joint trade fair at 10:30. The ceremony lasted an hour.

    "It was at that time when people at the gathering noticed the blue Prado Land Crusier of Wei Hsiaokang with the SW number plate leaving Tachilek in the direction of Monghsat," said the source.Wei is reported to enjoy a close relationship with Gen Khin Nyunt, he added.

    Gen Khin Nyunt visited Poongpakhem in Mongton township, Monghsat District, today (19 January). It is near Hwe Aw, where Wei's younger brother Hsiaoying lives.

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