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Burma, Thailand vow to ‘seal off’ Golden Triangle

Thai Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya vows to seal off the Golden Triangle in joint operations with Burma to crack down on illicit drugs.

Burma and Thailand will join hands in anti-drug operations by “sealing off” the Golden Triangle, the notorious drug-producing region, along with developing border villages in the fight against drugs.

The two countries have agreed on the need to go ahead with both suppression and prevention of drugs as part of their three-year Mekong safety plan, which aims to clear the transnational river of drug traffickers.

By mentioning “sealing off”, the authorities mean they will strengthen efforts to block drugs from being transported out of the Golden Triangle and, at the same time, prevent drug precursors from being trafficked into one of the world’s major drug-production sites, Paiboon said after leading Thai delegates in meetings with high-ranking Burmese officials in Naypyidaw.

Up to 3,000 tonnes of chemicals are used every year for drug production there, said Sirinya Sitdhichai, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, citing the latest estimate.

State officers have long targeted drug producers in the Golden Triangle, an overlapping mountainous area of about 950,000 square kilometres shared by Burma, Laos and Thailand near the Mekong. The drug crackdown is part of a larger plan, initiated this year and also joined by China, Cambodia and Vietnam, to ensure safe river transport for goods vessels.


Burma agrees with the enclosure approach, but Thailand needs to help support the operations of its anti-drug units, Paiboon said.

In a meeting on Friday, both countries also agreed to push ahead with projects to improve the quality of life of people living along the Thai-Burmese border, giving them more and better career choices.

Burma’s Health Minister Myint Htwe agreed to work with Thailand, which is ready to provide academic and medical support as well as personnel training for the project, Paiboon said.


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