Friday, 22 August 2008

Junta commander: Thailand violating Burmese sovereignty

19 August 2008, (Shan) - In a public speech given to the local officials and people yesterday at a location in Shan State’s Mongton township, opposite Chiangmai, the Burma Army commander of the Triangle Region Command had charged Thailand of “violating the territorial integrity” of Burma, according to sources on the border.

Maj-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, who was appointed to his new post in June, succeeding the outgoing Min Aung Hlaing, added, “Just as they (Thailand) have unilaterally taken possession of the Cambodian territory, they are doing the same at Loilang (the 32 square kilometer disputed area between Burma’s Monghsat and Thailand’s Mae Ai). The time will come when we’ll have to deal with the issue properly.”

The general, a graduate of legal affairs from India and military affairs from UK, according to him, was referring to the ongoing border dispute over the Preah Vihear temple area between Thailand and Cambodia.

Kyaw Phyoe had been on an inspection trip on the Thai-Burma border since 16 August.

He also charged the kingdom of employing the anti-junta Shan State Army (SSA) South of Col Yawdserk as a buffer against the Burma Army.

“As for Yawdserk, we are open to talks with him anytime he’s ready,” he said. “But there is only one condition for him: he has to exchange arms for peace (a euphemism for surrender).”

Kyaw Phyoe left for Mongton, 53 miles from the border, at 18:00.

The SSA South has 5 main bases along the Thai-Burma border:

* Loi Wa Her - opposite - Maehongson
* Loi Taileng - opposite - Maehongson
* Loi Lam - opposite - Chiangmai
* Loi Hsarmsip - opposite - Chiangmai
* Loi Gawwan - opposite - Chiangrai

Loilang, under the now defunct Mong Tai Army (MTA)’s control since 1982, was taken over by the Thai Army in 1987.

The issue, after reportedly debating at length at the Regional Border Committee (RBC) #25 meeting in Chiangrai, 6-8 August, has now been forwarded to the respective governments for resolution, according to Bangkok Post. The Burmese side, which included Kyaw Phyoe, had demanded “full rights” over the disputed territory.

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