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Nay Pyi Taw, Mizzima

China and Myanmar have vowed to strengthen comprehensive strategic cooperation, China’s state-run Xinhua newsagency has reported.

The agreement came during a meeting between Chinese Vice Premier Ms Liu Yandong and Vice President U Nyan Tun at a meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on December 11, Xinhua said on its website.

It quoted Ms Liu as saying that China and Myanmar enjoyed a deep “phaukphaw” [fraternal] friendship and that the long-term steady development of bilateral ties was in the fundamental interest of both countries.

She stressed that the Chinese side would earnestly implement the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, reconcile each other's development strategies and join hands with Myanmar in pushing ahead with mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas, Xinhua said.

Ms Liu added that the two peoples' understanding and support were indispensable to the long-term steady development of China-Myanmar ties.

She expressed China's wishes to make joint efforts to continue exchange and cooperation in education, health, culture, sport, information, film and television and religious affairs, to bring the cultural exchange a step forward and consolidate the foundation of public support for the long-tern development of bilateral ties.

Xinhua quoted U Nyan Tun as saying that Myanmar was committed to promoting a comprehensive bilateral strategic cooperative partnership and had endorsed China’s ideas and proposals on boosting cooperation.

U Nyan Tun said the development of friendly and neighborly ties with China was also one of the most important elements of Myanmar's foreign policy, the newsagency reported.

It quoted him as saying that both sides understand and support each other's domestic reform process, which has laid an important foundation to develop friendly cooperation in the new era.

After the meeting, Ms Lui and U Nyan Tun witnessed the signing of an agreement on bilateral economic and technology cooperation and the exchange of notes on some projects, Xinhua said.

Ms Lui, who was in Myanmar for a two-day visit at the invitation of U Nyan Tun, later on December 11 attended the opening ceremony of the SEA Games.

U Nyan Tun thanked China for providing technical assistance for the event, Xinhua reported.

 

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Bangkok Post

Soldiers of the Pha Muang force early Tuesday morning seized 1.66 million methamphetamine pills and 43 kilogrammes of crystal meth, or "ice", with a total estimated street worth of one billion baht (US$33.7 million).

After receiving a tip that there would be an attempt to smuggle a large amount of illegal drugs into Thailand through the nearby border, Pha Muang force commander Maj Gen Somsak Nilbanjerdkul sent a special task force to patrol the Mae Sai-Koh Chang road in tambon Mae Sai of Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

The patrol was on the rural road at Ban Wiang Hom when they spotted seven men carrying big fertilizer sacks on their shoulders. They signaled them to stop but the men instead dropped the sacks and fled back over the border to Myanmar.

They opened the abandoned sacks and found 1.66 million methamphetamine pills and 43 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine.

The soldiers believed the smugglers were members of the gang run by the self-styled Lt Col Yise, which brings drugs across the border and then hands them over to other gangs for delivery throughout Thailand.

This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post on May 14, 2013.

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Photo: UNOCHA/David Ohana
The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has urged the government and the Central Committee for Implementation of Stability and Development in Rakhine State to urgently implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Investigation Commission in the strife-torn region.

In a statement released in state-run newspaper The New Light of Myanmar on May 8, the rights group called for “just and effective actions to be taken in accordance with law against the perpetrators of the acts of violence that had occurred; steps to be taken to build mutual trust for the physical and mental rehabilitation of the victims”.

It also recommended a special children's education program in the affected areas to build “mutual trust”.

The Rakhine Investigation Commission's report released on April 29 recommended doubling security forces in the state, for Myanmar to “immediately” resolve Rohingya's citizenship status and recognize the basic human rights of those deemed stateless.

On Monday, President Thein Sein pledged to uphold the rights of Muslims and to establish a harmonious society for all Myanmar citizens in a speech to the nation.

On May 1, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar Tomás Ojea Quintana expressed concern at the Rakhine Commission’s lack of recommendations to address impunity and ensure investigations into “credible allegations of widespread and systematic human rights violations targeting the Muslim community in Rakhine State.”

He did, however, welcome “some forward-thinking recommendations” by the Investigation Commission into communal violence between Rakhine Buddhists and members of the Muslim Rohingya community in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State last year which left at least 200 dead and 140,000 homeless.

Related articles:
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BANGKOK POST

The Singkhorn temporary checkpoint on the border with Myanmar has been upgraded and will be opened as a new permanent pass on Wednesday.

Provincial governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul said the opening had been confirmed by both countries. It would be marked at a ceremony on Wednesday at Singkorn pass.

Singkhorn, in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Muang district, is opposite Mortong town in Myanmar. It is one of three checkpoints to be upgraded as permanent crossings to boost trade between the two countries.

The checkpoint connects Thailand with Mergui, one of the major towns in Myanmar.

The other two passes to be upgraded are Three Pagodas Pass in Kanchanaburi and Myanmar's Phayatongsu town, and Ban Nam Pu Ron in Kanchanaburi and Myanmar's Tiki town.

The plan was approved at talks between between Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Myanmar President Thein Sein on April 25 on the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Brunei.

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Maday Islanders march to the CNPC office on Thursday to issue a list of demands and register their displeasure with the company's oil and gas pipeline project. Photo: Thein Hlaing / Mizzima
About 800 residents of Maday Island in Kyaukphyu Township turned out on Thursday evening to protest against the gas and oil pipeline project that is backed by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which recently opened an office in the area, according to the officials of Maday Island Development Committee.

“At 1:45 pm [on Thursday], the residents set off marching from the Buddhist monastery in Badain Village to the CNPC office,” said Committee chairman Tun Kyi. “As they marched, they chanted slogans such as: ‘We don’t want CNPC’; ‘We will not give away our lands just for the sake of the Chinese’; and so on. As far as I know, no arrests were made.”

Many of the protesters wore t-shirts that bore the image of Maday Island and, below the picture, the word ‘CNPC’ crossed out.

On December 14, 2012, and March 29, 2013, the residents submitted requests for permission to protest to the Kyaukphyu Township administrative office, but the office denied them permission, according to the Committee. On April 5, they filed an appeal to the Rakhine State Administrative Office, but were denied permission to hold a rally.

One of the protest leaders said, “We staged the protest because we want the world know about our troubles. If they [government, authorities, CNPC] fail to meet our demands, we will continue organizing demonstrations.”

The residents issued a list of nine demands: promote development on the island; pay compensations to the owners of confiscated lands; build roads linking ports in the area to villages; create jobs for locals; pay salaries on a par with international standards; provide electricity to the area; ensure security in the area; give permission to for fishermen to work freely; and guarantee that no more lands will be seized.

Maday Island is located just eight miles off the coast at Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State. A total of some 3,000 people live in the four villages on the island. 

For more background:
  1. Locals plan Shwe Gas pipeline protest
  2. Chinese predict June opening for Burma pipeline
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detained-ethnic-Rohingya-from-Myanmar-sRohingya detained while lost en route from Myanmar to Malaysia.