Written by U Ne Oo on 1998-05-18

Letter to Senior General Than Shwe

Dr U Ne Oo

18 Shannon Place

Adelaide SA 5000


May 21, 1998.

Senior General Than Shwe


State Peace and Development Council

c/o Ministry of DEfence

Signal Pagoda Road

Rangoon, Burma.

Dear General Than Shwe

I am deeply disappointed to learn that your council has allowed 42 Chinese Naval Intelligence Officers to operate in Burmese Navy bases. By doing so, your council has become an instrument in China threatening the security of India and responsible for increasing military tension in South East Asian region. Since our independence, Burma has consistently adopted neutral foreign policy, especially regarding with China and India. Your council has broken this much valued tradition and allowed the Burmese and Burma to become the 'axe-handles' and 'lackey' of China. I therefore urge you to send all those Chinese Intelligence Officers immediately back to China.

I have also learnt that you have hired two American lobbying firms Bain's Associates -- in order to help lift American government's sanction on Burma. You should be aware that our Burma pro-demovernment's sanction on Burma. You should be aware that our Burma pro-democracy groups have more influence on American government and Congress than those lobbying firms. Therefore, do not attempt to waste Burmese people's money on those firms.

If you want the American sanctions to be lifted, you should make a substantive dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. When your council, SPDC, reaches agreement with NLD to share power, the Burma pro-democracy groups will support American President to lift sanction on Burma. Not only that, we will also lobby American government and international community to give generous support for drug eradication programme when your council making dialogue with the National League for Democracy.

We are dismayed to learn that your council have refused the offer by U.N.Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, to help begin dialogue with NLD and ethnic rebel groups. I believe that you and your council ought to be more courteous and respectful to the Secretary-General of United Nations. The people from U.N. and Secretary-General are always trying to make good efforts fo always trying to make good efforts for Burma and your council must not object the help of those from U.N. Your council should urgently cooperate U.N.Secretary-General, Human Rights Special Rapporteur and High Commissioner for Refugees in solving Burma's many of political problems.

Yours respectfully and sincerely

Sd. U Ne Oo.

Concerning Chinese Navy in Burmese Bases

(Distributed Monday May 18, 1998 on reg.burma@conf.igc.apc.org, + http://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/~uneoo)

On 11 May 1998, Indian authori998, Indian authorities detonated 3 nuclear bombs, with which few days later followed by exploding 2 similar devices. The mass media focuses its analysis on India's long-held nuclear ambition and the armed-races between Pakistan and India on this event. Although these seem to have been principal reasons for India to test its nuclear devices, there is a subtle concern by Indians about the threat from China. Few days prior to these nuclear tests, the defence minister of India was expressing security concern in connection with Chinese Navy using Burmese territory as the intelligence gathering bases to monitor Indian coasts.

There were reports, as early as 1993-94 in Far Eastern Economic Review, of the Chinese Navy using the Burmese Islands as their intelligence bases. The indication about the Chinese Navy's presence in Burmese bases at that time , however, were unsubstantiated: it was mixed with Chinese technicians helping to build Burmese Navy communication bases or otherwise. Nevetherless, judging by the seriousness of the communications fs of the communications from India, it is clear now that the Burmese army eventually has allowed the Chinese Navy to use Burma's territory.

There are also indications that Indian's policy towards Burma and, to some extent, ASEAN's engagement policy on Burma have been influenced by China. India's policy shift on Burma in early 1994 appears to have been driven by the fear of China influencing on the Burmese military. In the case of ASEAN, it is not at first quite clear its Burma's policy being driven by such security concerns. It is oferns. It is of my knowledge that in May 1993, ASEAN had brokered some humanitarian impasse on Burma in exchange for its membership. ASEAN concerns regarding Burma-China nexus also appear to be the underlying factor. [ As a digression on ASEAN membership on Burma: it was actually overwhelmed by the debate on East-West divide on human rights and democratic governance; and some Asian politicians trying to point scores over that debate. An unfortunate thing about such debate is that it feeds Burmese junta's illusion about itself (more on this note later).]

To my observation, whenever the States are being faced with such substantial security threat or a potential security threat, the Governments normally do not respond or take actions - except the super powers -- publicly. Just like India and ASEAN have done the counter-balancing measures about China's influence on Burma in 1993-97, the diplomatic corps usually do things quietly and assumed that the sophisticated public -- it means everybody -- understand. In a way, this kind of brstand. In a way, this kind of behaviour by governments may be considered as some form of diplomatic code of conduct.

The way the Indian Defence Minister expressed concern about Chinese Navy in Burma, therefore, can be viewed as an extra-ordinary act. The Minister seems to be giving the warning about such situation to the Burma's opposition groups. On the other hand, those Burmese military generals -- the dumbs and idiots -- have to be told-off about the situation just as it actually is. In any case, we -- the Burmese people -- are very grale -- are very grateful to the Indian Defence Minister for giving such information to us.


Shock waves from India's nuclear blasts, in many ways, will hit the Burmese junta's remaining legitimacy. The Burmese junta has always claimed itself to be the sole protector of Burma's sovereignty. The oppositions are accused by the military as the "axe-handles", "foreign lackeys" and "puppets" of alien forces. In reality, this is certainly not true. Instead, it is the Burmese junta who fails to protect our sovereignty and, sadly, that is the Burmese army which becoming a Chinese lackey.

We, as the human rights and democracy campaigners for Burma, to be involved in such serious security issues, of course, is beyond our own resources and capacity. Nonetheless, concerned as we are, we must be writing to the World's leaders about this situation on Burma and, of course, must deliver strong moral messages to the Burmese Generals who must take the responsibility.

Wit the responsibility.

With best regards, U Ne Oo.


NEW DELHI, May 10 AFP - India has "crucial evidence" of a strong Chinese naval presence in Burma and Chinese vessels are visiting islands near the Indian coast to monitor signals traffic, a daily newspaper said today.

The Pioneer newspaper quoted unidentified Indian officials as saying they had proof that at least 42 Chinese naval engineers and operations officers had been de had been deployed to seven Burmese naval bases in the Bay of Bengal.

They said the bases, including the Coco islands, the Hainggyi islands and the Ayeryarwady naval base, were off India's east coast.

"Senior officials said the Chinese have been building up the pressure by sending vessels to intercept Indian signals communications," the Pioneer said, the latest siting occured in March.

India's new Defence Minister George Fernandes has sparked a storm by terming China as India's numbera's number one threat. He has accused it of building up naval bases in Burmese territory and of helping Pakistan develop a surface-to-surface missile.

China has denied being a threat to India. Fernandes toned down his remarks but said there could be no "let-up" of troops deployed on the Indo-Chinese border.

Fernandes also accused Beijing of stockpiling nuclear weapons and extending military airfields in Tibet to India's north during the past six months, adding that China was also training Burma's army.

India and China fought a brief border war in 1962, leading to a virtual freeze in ties for 14 years. Relations have been on the mend and several high-level visits exchanged. Last month the People's Liberation Army chief General Fu Quanyou went to India for talks.

India says China still holds 40,000 square kilometres of its territory in Kashmir. China lays claim to a swathe of Indian territory in the far eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Fernandes is a long-standing critic of China and of the military junta in Burma and one of the most vocal Indian supporters of Tibetan independence. AFP /cjh

Chinese Naval Presence in Burmese seas