CHRONOLOGY 1998
covering burma and southeast asia
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

CHRONOLOGY 1998


By The Irrawaddy Thursday, January 1, 1998


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(Page 11 of 27)

The treatment cost him 200,000 baht.

Ramos says Asean will sway Burma

Burma’s Asean membership will draw the military regime back into the international community, Philippine President Fidel Ramos said.

Speaking before diplomats and government officials as part of a “report to the nation,” Ramos said, “We are confident that membership in Asean will have an ameliorating effect on [Burma’s] economy and society,” adding that membership would “gradually draw the Rangoon regime into the international community,” although he did not elaborate.

Ramos defended the impending extension of Asean membership to Burma saying, “To us in Asean, that [Burma] is part of the Southeast Asian family is reason to bring her into the fold.”

ATM allots forex coupons

The first automatic teller machine dispensing foreign exchange coupons was opened in Burma by the May Flower Bank.

The privately-owned May Flower Bank operates the only ATMs in Burma, and only has about four or five of them, all in Rangoon.

Mon rebels surrender to junta

More than 300 Mon soldiers surrendered to the Burmese military near the Thai border in Prachuab Khiri Khan and handed over some 1,700 pieces of arms and ammunition.

However, more than 1,000 members of their families broke away from the mainstream New Mon State Party nearly two years ago because New Mon State Party president and commander of the Mon forces, Nai Shwe Kyin contacted and signed a ceasefire agreement with the Slorc against the will of the Mon freedom fighters.

Japanese envoy arrives in Rangoon

Japanese envoy Hiroshi Hirabayashi was in Rangoon for talks with Burma’s leaders to underscore Japan’s concern over the crackdown on the democratic movement in Burma. The special envoy of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto met Foreign Minister Ohn Gyaw and Lt-Gen. Khin Nyunt.

It was believed that the envoy delivered a personal message from Hashimoto to the country’s military rulers urging the junta to talk with the NLD.

July

Trade drops amid fears over scrapping of the kyat

Thai-Burmese border trading in Mae Sot declined sharply as many Thais feared Rangoon would soon scrap the kyat currency.

Jirasak Paiboonthamrote, chairman of the border trade committee of Tak’s Chamber of Commerce, said the situation resulted from reports that dealers in Rangoon had bought a quantity of foreign currencies, causing the Burmese currency to drop from 180-200 to 280-300 kyat per US dollar.

Former strongman dies

Saw Maung, the general who headed Burma’s junta when it seized power in 1988, died of a heart attack, family members said.

The 68 year-old Saw Maung, who held the rank of senior general, had been in poor health for a long time. He resigned as chairman of the junta in April 1992 on medical grounds.

The official announcement of his leave said his medical condition had “become severely impaired by the stress of work and heavy responsibilities of the state.”

The report, and the suddenness of his resignation, lent credence to widespread rumours that he had suffered a nervous breakdown. He was rarely seen in public after he was replaced by Senior Gen. Than Shwe, who still heads the junta.

Born in December 1928 in the northern city of Mandalay, Saw Maung joined the army in 1949, a year after Burma gained independence from Britain. He became a battalion commander with the rank of major in 1967, five years after Gen. Ne Win overthrew a democratically elected government and installed single-party rule.



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