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 3 of 27)

Than Shwe, and the two sides signed a cultural agreement.

Soros calls for boycott of the junta

US financier George Soros called for an international tourist boycott of Burma and an end to investments there by oil companies.

Soros appealed to the French company Total and the American company Union Oil of California (Unocal) to suspend their investments in the Yadana natural gas field.

The businessman said, “Nothing would hurt [Slorc] more than the oil companies suspending their operation on the Yadana pipeline under the pressure of public opinion from Europe and the USA.”

February

Aung San Suu Kyi murder threat

Aung San Suu Kyi alleged that Railways Minister Win Sein had encouraged junta supporters to murder her. During an up-country address to members of the pro-junta Union Solidarity Development Association (USDA) in late 1996, Win Sein reportedly told the crowd to “weed out” Suu Kyi.

Slorc has repeatedly vowed to “annihilate destructive elements” both inside and outside the country but dismissed the allegations saying, Suu Kyi “has been watching too many Alfred Hitchcock movies.”

Karen refugees attacked in Thailand

Karen refugees living in Thailand along the border were forced to relocate as a result of attacks from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and Slorc soldiers.

The domestic and cross-border forays displaced thousands, bringing the estimated number of Karen refugees on Thai soil to 100,000.

Slorc saw a ceasefire agreement with the Karen National Union (KNU) deteriorate, and is eager to finally control the rebel territory to make it safe for foreign investment projects.

DKBA troops easily crossed the Moei River separating the two countries and raided refugee camps in Ban Huay Kalok, Ban Huay Bong, and Mae Hla, located in Thailand’s Tak province.

Despite repeated warnings of the impending attacks, Thai forces were unable to repel DKBA advances drawing heavy criticism from international relief workers and certain Thai government officials. A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman bemoaned the negligence as a “breakdown in [Thai] military intelligence.”

Suharto visits Burma

Indonesian President Suharto visited Burma on his tour of the three remaining Asean observer nations.After visiting Cambodia and Laos, Suharto went to Rangoon to sign two memoranda of understanding on Indonesian investment in Burmese industry and an airline services joint venture, as well as a feasibility study on investment potential in several sectors ranging from agriculture to manufacturing.Suharto also had a “purely private” meeting with retired Burmese leader Gen. Ne Win. Indonesia has invested a total of about US$200 million in Burma since 1988.

MARCH

Drug suspect jumps bail

Li Yun-chung, an international drug suspect indicted in the US on charges of importing 486 kgs of heroin, jumped bail and fled to Burma.

Li, with multiple aliases was indicted over his alleged involvement in the biggest heroin shipment ever to the US which was intercepted by customs officials in Hayward, California in May 1991.

The escape caused Thai authorities to investigate Mr. Somchai Udomwong, the judge who granted Mr. Li bail on Feb.7.



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