covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, October 20, 2018


By The Irrawaddy Thursday, January 1, 1998

(Page 4 of 27)

It is believed Li was abetted by authorities on both sides of the border.

Kissinger and Mandela support constructive engagement

Former US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger voiced his disapproval of isolating Burma, supporting Asean’s “constructive engagement” policy withBurma explaining, “We should not get ourselves involved in the domestic reforms of any country because we don’t know what that country thinks.”

Meanwhile, South African President Nelson Mandela urged a greater engagement between his country and the Asean nations.

Mandela told reporters that “We [South Africa] are willing to deal with any region irrespective of the internal policies of those regions.”

But Mandela also added that South Africa “will be willing to play our part” if the international community decides on concerted action against the military regime.

However, Thailand’s two major English-language dailies were critical of Mr. Mandela’s Asean policy accusing him of “biting the hand that liberated, fed, and nurtured him.”

Muslim aggression

Religious unrest between Muslims and the Buddhist majority in Mandalay resulted in the vandalism of Muslim property and left at least one monk dead of gunshot wounds.

The clashes, sparked by the alleged rape of a Buddhist girl by a Muslim spread to other areas within the country including Rangoon, and caused the government to impose curfews and heighten security in several of the troubled areas.

Burmese intelligence suggested the unrest was caused by destructive elements intent on sabotaging Burma’s Asean bid in July.

“The main reason for this tension...[is] to create unrest in the country by creating disturbances wherever and whenever opportunity arises, to create misunderstanding between Myanmar and her Asean friends, especially with Indonesia and Malaysia which are both Islamic nations.”

However, some analysts reported that the real cause for the unrest was Slorc’s systematic looting of treasures at several temples in upper Burma, particularly the Maha Myat Muni Buddha statue in Mandalay. Others have suggested that some of the monks are being manipulated by the generals themselves.


Bomb kills Tin Oo's daughter

Cho Lei Oo, the eldest daughter of top military official Lt-Gen. Tin Oo, was killed by a parcel bomb delivered to their home on April 6.

The parcel, which had Japanese stamps, caused the government to accuse anti-Slorc groups in Japan for the attack. Burmese in Japan and Thailand as well as Karen guerillas denied any involvement in the explosion while Aung San Suu Kyi condemned the attack as “cowardly.”

The parcel was the second bomb attempt in recent months for which Tin Oo had been the target. In December 1996, a bomb blast at Kaba Aye Pagoda killed 5 and injured 17, but Tin Oo was unharmed.

Slorc continues offensive against Karen

Government forces targeting KNU guerillas continued to attack Karen settlements and rice supplies as they tried to flush out guerillas in eastern Burma.

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