Gov­ern­ment eyes bor­der mile­stones

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com – Trans­la­tion by Zar Zar Soe

DIPLO­MATIC ne­go­ti­a­tions are un­der way to fi­nalise con­struc­tion for mile­stones along de­mar­ca­tion lines at Myan­mar’s Thai and In­dian bor­der points, vice min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs U Kyaw Tin told the lower house yes­ter­day.

“In or­der to leave a good legacy for our next gen­er­a­tion, we have been try­ing to start defin­ing the bor­der as fast as we can,” he said. An agree­ment has been reached to re­boot bor­der-defin­ing ef­forts in the south, as a re­sult of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s re­cent visit to Thai­land in her ca­pac­ity as Union min­is­ter for for­eign af­fairs.

A del­e­ga­tion of Thai of­fi­cials will visit Myan­mar on Septem­ber 16 and 17 to dis­cuss the un­der­tak­ing.

The bor­der be­tween Myan­mar and Thai­land is 1318 miles (2135 kilo­me­tres) long, but by 1991 de­mar­ca­tion had only been com­pleted along 36 miles. Re­newed ef­forts be­tween 1993 and 2013 came to naught. Two hun­dred miles of the bor­der are in line for the first phase of con­struc­tion. Myan­mar shares a 1010-mile bor­der with In­dia. U Kyaw Tin said the gov­ern­ment has been try­ing to erect nine mile­stones along a dis­puted 24mile pass in the Kabaw Val­ley. Just 79 miles re­mains to be com­pleted in the north, to mark the in­ter­sec­tion of Myan­mar, In­dia and China. This can only pro­ceed once In­dia and China set­tle their own ter­ri­to­rial dis­pute, he said.

To ad­dress the dis­puted 24 miles on the In­dia bor­der, a joint bor­der work­ing group con­vened in Jan­uary of this year. A co­or­di­na­tion meet­ing was held among min­is­ters and sec­re­taries for for­eign af­fairs min­istries in New Delhi on Au­gust 9. Sripriya Ran­gan­nthan, di­rec­tor gen­eral of In­dia’s Min­istry for Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs, is due to visit Myan­mar on Au­gust 22.

Myan­mar’s bor­der with China stretches 1348 miles, and has been de­mar­cated since 1960. The 149mile bor­der with Laos has been de­mar­cated at the Mekong River as a fixed bor­der. Laos Pres­i­dent Bounnhang Vo­ra­chith’s re­cent visit to Myan­mar saw an agree­ment inked on joint man­age­ment of the Friend­ship Bridge be­tween the two coun­tries. It was also agreed that a bronze plaque will be in­stalled to mark the bor­der point on the bridge.

The 168-mile Myan­mar-Bangladesh bor­der was de­mar­cated at the Naf River in 1964. In­land bor­ders were fur­ther de­fined in 1998.

See­ing to in­com­plete bor­der de­mar­ca­tions is a press­ing duty of the cur­rent gov­ern­ment, said Pyithu Hlut­taw MP U Maung Myint. He noted re­cent po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments have paved the way for progress on the is­sue. “It is a good time to con­tinue defin­ing the bor­der with Thai­land as the area is sta­ble now.”

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