Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mizzima: Thai-Myanmar disputed islands shelter illegal workers

Mizzima reports:
Thai Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has blamed "dishonest and bad" Thais for sparking Myanmar's territorial claim over three small islands in the overlapping marine area between the countries. He said Thai gangs were hiding illegal workers on the islands, which had given rise to new problems over territory claims. Myanmar representatives from the Thailand-Myanmar Township Border Committee (TBC) on Saturday said Nay Pyi Taw has prohibited Thais from entering Koh Lam, Koh Khan and Koh Khinok. Myanmar claims the islands are inside its territory based on a map drawn by Britain in 1939. Gen. Prayuth said the conflict over the islands is a long-standing one. The countries had agreed at the TBC that neither side would make use of the islands. But problems have reignited after Thai gangs hid illegal workers there. "I don't want to blame anyone else but our own people. They are unpatriotic and do not consider their nation but their own vested interests," Gen. Prayuth said. Some people from Myanmar were also involved, he added. He said the Thai and Myanmar sides have discussed the problem and agreed to drive the occupants from the islands.

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