Chiangrai Times – The Myanmar Government has agreed to resume talks to resolve long-standing Thai-Myanmar border issues this October, a Thai foreign ministry official says.
Vasin Teeravechyan, co-chairman of the Thai-Myanmar Joint Boundary Committee (JBC), said as the situation in Myanmar has become more stable, the government there is trying to settle its border concerns with Thailand.
“Myanmar has agreed to resume the JBC meeting this October in Bagan, Myanmar, but the date is not yet finalized,” Mr Vasin said at a weekend seminar on Thailand’s border relationships with Myanmar and Laos, organized by the Foreign Ministry.
The seminar, at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai, was attended by about 1,000 people.
Mr Vasin and state officials in charge of border demarcation also inspected the Mae Sai-Nam Ruok River, which borders Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, and the second friendship bridge linking Thailand and Myanmar.
The last JBC meeting was held seven years ago and the mechanism has been suspended since because of Myanmar’s internal problems.
Thailand and Myanmar share 2,401km of common border.
Mr Vasin said a key issue to be raised at the resumed JBC meeting would be Thailand and Myanmar’s ongoing conflicts along the Moei River, which forms the border between Thailand’s Tak province and Myanmar’s Myawaddy province.
Mr Vasin said the two countries plan to discuss a memorandum of understanding to use as a guideline for border negotiations.
Both sides want the Joint Technical Committee, which was set up to solve the problems on the river, to be more active, he said.
Thailand will try to separate the border matters from political issues to prevent the closure of border checkpoints, as this could affect border trade and transportation, Mr Vasin said.
He also urged all Thai officials and Thais living along the border to help keep an eye on the border pillars and changes in the water course due to construction activities along the Moei River.
Mr Vasin said he wanted to see a buffer zone to be established at least 200 metres from the river.
This would help prevent permanent structures from being built in the area, he said.
On Thai-Lao border issues, Mr Vasin said the countries have not held talks on the matter for five years as the land boundary demarcation between the two is already 96% complete.
Thailand and Laos share a 1,810km common border _ 702km of land and 1,108km of river.
The two countries have not yet finished demarcating the border in 17 areas, including Ban Romklao in Phitsanulok, three villages in Uttaradit, Chong Mek in Ubon Ratchathani, and Phu Chee Fah and Kaeng Pha Dai in Chiang Rai. – Thanida Tansubhapol