Golden Triangle to be 'sealed off'

Golden Triangle to be 'sealed off'

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

Thailand and Myanmar 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, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya said after leading Thai delegates in meetings with high-ranking Myanmar officials in Nay Pyi Taw.

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 Myanmar, 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.

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

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

Myanmar's Public 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, Gen Paiboon said.

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