Junta News Diary

November - 2002

Nov 01 2002

- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the nation's military government and pro- democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to quickly launch talks laying the groundwork for democracy in fear of losing steam for political reform drive in Myanmar.
- General Khin Nyunt stressed the fundamental importance of the United Nations to the preservation of international peace and security and to the promotion of economy and social development of mankind.
- The Burmese Embassy in Singapore says the suspicious looking envelope it received on October 30, was the work of terrorist groups based in Thailand which are opposed to the government.

Nov 02 2002

- Ethnic Chin insurgents shot and killed a Buddhist monk in northwestern Burma.
- Myanmar's teak export dropped 14.3 percent to 132,727 cubic-meters in the first half of 2002 from the same period of last year, according to the latest figures of the state-run Myanmar Timber Enterprise.But its hardwood export grew 48 percent to 220,740 cubic-meters over the reported period.
- Myanmar exported 69,000 tons of fish and prawn in the first half of 2002, up 121.86 percent from the same period of last year when 31,100 tons were sold abroad.

Nov 03 2002

- Myanmar's bilateral trade with five ASEAN states totaled 1,118.12 million US dollars in the first half of 2002, down 14.29 percent from the same period last year.
- Chinese Minister of Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng Sunday exchanged notes with ministers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar on China's provision of preferential treatment to the three Southeast Asian countries during Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji's current official visit to Cambodia.
- Gen Than Shwe left for Cambodia on Sunday to attend a series of high-level meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that opens later in the day in Phnom Penh.
- Semiannual government-backed gem sale, held last week, achieved record sales of more than US$30 million, state-run newspapers reported.

Nov 04 2002

- Thai Newspaper Bangkok Post reported the United Wa State Army used a gems auction held by the Burmese government in Rangoon last week to launder millions of baht in drug money.
- 16-member delegation from the Karenni National Progressive Party has started preliminary peace talks with the military government, seven years after their cease-fire broke down.
- EU extended its visa ban, assets freeze to Junta members for another six months.
- Burma's raw rubber export increased by 117.2 percent to 18,900 tons in the first half of 2002 compared with the same period of last year.
- Burma's cotton yarn production fell 36 percent to 1,937 tons in the first half of 2002 from the same period of last year.

Nov 05 2002

- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he pressed Senior General Than Shwe to pursue democracy when they met on the sidelines of the annual ASEAN summit in Cambodia.
- Made a new bid to clear itself of allegations that rape is being used as a weapon of war again ethnic Shan women by inviting the Red Cross to investigate the claims.
- asked for Thai-Burmese Regional Border Committee meeting in Moulmein to be rescheduled because it was not fully prepared.
- A law student who staged a solo protest to demand the release of political prisoners was sentenced to 14 years in jail under emergency laws.
- Investment in Myanmar from member states of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plunged to zero in the first half of 2002, the latest data of the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development showed.
- The production of Myanmar's precious gems including jade, sapphire and ruby, dropped in the first half of 2002 from the same period of last year.

Nov 06 2002

- Austria has opened air link with Myanmar with an inaugural flight, made by the Lauda Air of the country from Vienna, landing at the Yangon International Airport.

Nov 07 2002

- Progress is being made towards democratic reforms in Myanmar but they will take time and the world needs to be patient, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said.

Nov 08 2002

- The United States called for "substantive dialogue" between the government and opposition and said it strongly supported a visit next week by U.N. special envoy Razali Ismail.
- Stepped back from an earlier announcement the Red Cross has begun investigating allegations that the military junta used rape as a weapon of war against ethnic Shan women by citing "a slight misinterpretation" of the activities of a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Nov 09 2002

- Altogether 153 remnants of the Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP), a former Burma anti-government ethnic armed group which made peace with the government over seven years ago, laid down their arms to the government forces.

Nov 11 2002

- Khin Nyunt has accused some western nations of interfering in the internal affairs of his country.

Nov 12 2002

- U.N. envoy arrives on his 9th visit for crucial talks and held separate meetings with the junta's powerful intelligence chief General Khin Nyunt and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
- Supreme Court has begun hearing an appeal lodged by the son-in-law and three grandsons of former dictator Ne Win who were sentenced to death for plotting to overthrow the junta.
- Two French nationals have been detained after crossing into the country from Thailand without visas.

Nov 14 2002

- UN envoy Razali Ismail met with Senior General Than Shwe which lasted just 15 minutes.

Nov 15 2002

- Philippine police defused a letter bomb at Burma's embassy in Manila, the latest in a series of explosive devices also sent to the country's missions in Japan, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
- The number of employees in country has increased 7 million in the past 14 years since 1988, reaching the total employment to 25 million now, official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar said. Also economy grew by 8.4 percent annually against the target of 6 percent.

Nov 17 2002

- Regime's number-three, military intelligence chief General Khin Nyunt said "political evolution can only occur at a pace with which we are comfortable,".
- Government troops attacked Shan rebels in three-prong near the Thai border.

Nov 18 2002

- Signed a contract with China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd for building Mandalay Ayeyawady River Bridge (Yadanabon).

Nov 19 2002

- Issued the statement praising United Nations envoy Razali Ismail for his "persistent and patient" efforts on behalf of national reconciliation.

Nov 20 2002

- Bangladesh Foreign Minister M. Morshed Khan arrived Rangoon.

Nov 21 2002

- Began freeing a group of 115 political prisoners, the biggest single release since United Nations-brokered reconciliation talks began two years ago.
- James Kelly, the State Department's senior Asia policymaker, said Burma's leaders should "hang their heads in shame" over their broken economy. It is the Bush administration's most fiercely critical outline yet of its policy towards the country.
- Agreed to free two French nationals held for nine days after crossing into the country without visas and will deport them to Thailand.

Nov 22 2002

- Amnesty International calls for release of all prisoners of conscience.

Nov 25 2002

- Planned to cut opium production by half next year, and rejected a forecast that a record one billion "speed" pills would be trafficked into Thailand in 2003.
- Rejected a "tongue-lashing" meted out by a senior US official, but seized on signs that the United States attaches increasing credibility to its anti-narcotics drive.

Nov 27 2002

- Human rights monitor Forum-Asia criticized Austria-based Lauda Air for launching flights between Vienna and Rangoon this month, saying the deal ignored Burma's "human rights crisis".

Nov 28 2002

- Reported that a random sampling of antibiotics often sold as treatment for sexually transmitted diseases in the country reveals that only a fraction contain as much of the drug's active ingredient as the label claims.