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Golden Web Awards 2002-2003

 

Burma demands troops leave Doi Lang

Published on Mar 8, 2003

A dispute over the Thailand-Burma border erupted yesterday when the Burmese demanded the withdrawal of Thai troops from the strategic mountain of Doi Lang.

Burmese Lt-Colonel Aung Thien Oo said 32 Thai troops were stationed at the mountain, 23 on the hills and another nine on cliffs along the border.

The Burmese government, he said, considered the action a violation of its sovereignty and demanded that the Thai military remove its troops from the area.

Doi Lang, located on the northwest border with Burma near Chiang Mai, is considered a strategic military post for monitoring drug trafficking. Both sides claim sovereignty over the area.

The Burmese officer cited the Thai-British treaty signed on October 27, 1894 to back Burmese claims to Doi Lang. However, Thailand referred to a 1980 map to show that the mountain belonged to the Kingdom.

The demand for the withdrawal of troops was made at the meeting of the 28th Township Border Committee in Chiang Rai between Thailand and a Burmese delegation led by Aung Thein Oo.

Colonel Apichart Meesommon, heading the Thai delegation, said the Thai government and the State Peace and Development Council had agreed that the Thai Army could retain troops in the area, as long as no further soldiers were deployed.

He maintained that Thai troops in Doi Lang were definitely within Thai territory.

Apichart also asked the Burmese delegation to ensure that the Burmese stopped digging along the Sai River, which could change the demarcation line.

The Thai-Burmese joint border committee is currently trying to define the border and expects to complete its task soon.

The Thai Army also suggested a meeting with Burmese soldiers stationed along the border at least once a month to reduce tension and misunderstandings.

Apichart said at the meeting that Her Majesty the Queen would visit Chiang Mai's Mae Ai district later in the month. He requested that the Burmese therefore maintain peace in the area.

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