BlueHummingbird News

Burma (Myanmar)

From The CIA:
CIA - The World Fact Book - Burma
" ... world's second largest producer of illicit opium ... "

From Asia Times: Nov 22, 2003
CHINA MOVES ON MYANMAR Part 1: PLA masses on the border
By Xu Er
HONG KONG - On September 16, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a press conference that China had early that month changed its guard on the border with Myanmar in Yunnan province, with People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers taking over the border defense responsibilities from local armed police. He said the move was a normal adjustment and had been completed, adding that many journalists had asked him about the issue the day before. In fact, Kong's statement came out of the blue - nobody was asking any questions about the China-Myanmar border. The focus of the press conference was China's military buildup on its North Korean border. However, the Beijing government was evidently eager to let the world know that it was massing its forces on the Myanmar border as well, hence Kong's seemingly irrelevant statement. For despite China's preference for a low profile, it likes to keep the outside world posted on what's happening on its borders.
Intrigued by Kong's remarks, Asia Times Online sent a team to the southern province of Yunnan, and into Myanmar itself, to investigate the nature and scale of the border "adjustment", and to try to determine why it is taking place. Had a US military force been secretly deployed inside Myanmar, as one rumor had it? Or, more likely, was Beijing worried that the embattled military dictatorship in Yangon was losing control of the country all on its own, without interference by Americans in the shadows? ATol found that Kong did not tell the whole truth by describing the deployment as a routine adjustment. The deployment is large, and existing border patrols have not been replaced, but have been reinforced by well-equipped units of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). ...

From TIME: Monday, Nov. 24, 2003
Slave Labor?
Unocal is being sued in the U.S. for ignoring abuses in Burma. It's the next globalization battle
The farmers and fishermen who live in jungle villages along the southern coast of Burma were long overlooked and neglected by their government. And they liked it that way, given the notorious methods of the country's military dictatorship. But their lives changed horribly, they say, after two oil companies, the U.S. giant Unocal and its French partner Total, began exploiting natural-gas deposits offshore. The gas discovery prompted construction of a $1.2 billion pipeline through hundreds of miles of rain forest to an electrical plant in neighboring Thailand. At that point, villagers contend, the government began to view them as another kind of natural resource to be exploited. Burmese troops were brought in to provide security and build infrastructure for the project. Overnight, claim the villagers, soldiers forced them at gunpoint to build army camps, helipads and roads. Many fled into the jungle, but others could not escape what they charge were terrible abuses. One victim, a slightly built, middle-aged rice farmer, told TIME of beatings by Burmese soldiers, who forced villagers to carry heavy loads through the jungle, sometimes for weeks at a stretch. "The government calls us volunteers," he said. "But the truth is, we were slaves." ...

From The Financial Express (India): Friday, January 16, 2004
Indo-Korean Consortium Reports Major Gas Find In N-W Myanmar
NEW DELHI, JAN 15: The Indo-Korean consortium comprising ONGC Videsh (OVL), Gail India, Daewoo International and Kogas have announced discovery of a world-class giant gas field in the A-1 Block in offshore North-West Myanmar. The initial estimated recoverable reserves of this gas discovery are in the range of 4-6 trillion cubic feet (equivalent to 700-1,000 million barrels of oil). Sources said the actual reserves may touch close to 10 TCF. According to sources, considering high productivity of the gas reservoir, daily production capacity of the field can be reached (at) more than 500 million cubic feet (equivalent to 90,000 barrels of oil) per day. As there are several seismic anomalies in the Block A-1, considerable additional potential is also expected in Block A-1, they added. ...

From Reuters: Friday, January 16, 2004 5:58 p.m. ET
Myanmar Frees 26 Members of Suu Kyi's Party
BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) - Myanmar military rulers have released 26 members of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) from detention, the Information Ministry said Friday. ... The NLD won a landslide victory in a 1990 general election, but was never allowed to govern by the military, which has ruled the country since 1962.

From The BBC: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 08:51 GMT
Burma denies N Korea ties
Burma has rejected a suggestion by a senior US congressional adviser that it might be seeking nuclear technology from North Korea. Keith Luse warned that the US should pay special attention to what he called a growing relationship between the two. ... During a speech in Washington he said that the relationship needed to be monitored and he asked the open question: "Is North Korea providing nuclear technology to the Burma military?" Burma said the comments raised "a false and disconcerting alarm." ...

From AFP at ABC (Australia): Tuesday, March 2, 2004. 6:10pm (AEDT)
US takes new swipe at Burma over drugs
Burma has made a modest cut in poppy cultivation but remains the world's second ranked supplier of opium, the United States warned Monday in a new swipe at Rangoon's rulers. In an annual report on world drugs production, the State Department gave Burma's ruling generals little hope for their campaign to shed the country's reputation as a narco-dictatorship. "Burma has reduced poppy production modestly but remains far from demonstrating the counter-narcotics commitment that would... get itself out of the trafficking system," said Robert Charles, Assistant Secretary of State for international narcotics and law enforcement. ...

From AFP at SpaceWar: Mar 26, 2004
US accuses North Korea of seeking to sell missiles to Myanmar
WASHINGTON (AFP) The United States on Thursday accused North Korea of seeking to sell surface-to-surface missiles to Myanmar's military government. ...

From AFP at Yahoo: Thu Apr 8, 6:04 PM ET
Powell backs call for renewal of US sanctions against Myanmar
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Colin Powell backed calls by legislators for renewal of sanctions against military-ruled Myanmar despite Yangon's invitation to opposition parties for a forum aimed at introducing democracy. ...

From AP at The Guardian: Saturday April 17, 2004 3:01 AM (UK)
Myanmar Reopens Suu Kyi Party Headquarters

From AFP at Yahoo: Sat Apr 17, 9:06 PM ET
EU presents Myanmar demands to Asian partners
STRAFFAN, Ireland (AFP) - The European Union and Asia held annual talks here with the EU insisting on wholesale changes in Myanmar if the military-ruled nation is to join the regional dialogue in the future. Topping the demands is the release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said ahead of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which is once again overshadowed by the Myanmar question. The EU also wants Myanmar's junta to make good on promises to involve Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic groups in a national convention next month, the first step in a seven-point "road map to democracy". "And those are conditions, as far as we're concerned, for Burma's (Myanmar's) acceptance into ASEM membership," Straw told reporters. ...

From AFP at Channel News Asia: 18 April 2004 1117 hrs (GMT + 8 hours)
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to be freed in next few days: UN envoy

From The BBC: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Burma tells US to 'stop lecturing'
Burma's military leaders have said the United States must stop lecturing them about democracy. They said events in Afghanistan and Iraq showed the dangers of imposing change on a country from the outside. In a statement, Burma's military junta said it was committed to restoring democracy, but at its own pace. ... It also criticised a recent US statement which described Burma as an "unusual and extraordinary threat to American national security". Burma "has no weapons of mass destruction, no terrorist organisations, no missile programmes, no expansionist ambitions and no animosity towards the United States," the statement said. Burma is currently holding a national convention to draft a new constitution, which it claims is a key step in its "road map" to democracy. ... Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy .. boycotted the convention due to the continued detention of both Aung San Suu Kyi and chairman Tin Oo, as well as the enforced closure of its regional offices. ...

From Reuters UK: Tue 19 October, 2004 08:49
Myanmar PM under house arrest By Darren Schuettler
BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) - Khin Nyunt has been sacked as prime minister of military-ruled Myanmar amid allegations of corruption and placed under house arrest, a Thai government spokesman says. ...
From Reuters: Wed Oct 20, 2004 05:20 AM ET
Myanmar Hardliner Power Play Dashes Reform Hopes By Ed Cropley
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The forcing out of Myanmar's prime minister, architect of a tentative "roadmap to democracy," has dashed faint chances for an end to military rule and leaves Southeast Asia's policy of constructive engagement in tatters. ...

From AFP at Yahoo: Thu Dec 2, 2004 3:09 PM ET
US demands immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House demanded that Myanmar military authorities "immediately and unconditionally" release opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and condemned her extended house arrest. "The United States calls on the regime to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and to begin taking other meaningful steps toward national reconciliation, democracy, and improved human rights," spokesman Scott McClellan said. ...

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