By VIOLET CHO
The Irrawaddy News
Burmese military forces have reportedly stepped up security along a section of Burma’s border with Northern Thailand as the two countries discuss a disputed piece of territory there.
At a session of the Regional Border Committee (RBC) in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand, the Burmese delegation demanded the return of Loilang, known in Thai as Doilang, a 32 square kilometre area of land once controlled by the Mong Tai Army but taken over by the Thai Army in 1987. The land is sandwiched between Monghsat in Burma and the Thai village of Mae Ai.
The Shan Herald Agency for News reported that the leader of the Burmese delegation, Maj-Gen Kyaw Phyoe, commander of Burmese forces in the Gold Triangle region, had accused Thailand of “violating the territorial integrity” of Burma during a speech delivered to local officials in Mongton township, Shan State.
Referring to Thailand’s dispute with Cambodia over the Preah Vihear temple. Kyaw Phyoe said:
"Just as they (Thailand) have unilaterally taken possession of the Cambodian territory, they are doing the same at Loilang. The time will come when we'll have to deal with the issue properly.”
The English language daily The Bangkok Post reported that the issue has now been referred to the Thai and Burmese governments in the hope of resolving the dispute.