Myanmar to complete demarcation of its borders

Myanmar to complete demarcation of its borders

Workers unload fresh produce from a boat on Moei River, which is the natural border between Thailand and Myanmar in Tak's Mae Sot district. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Workers unload fresh produce from a boat on Moei River, which is the natural border between Thailand and Myanmar in Tak's Mae Sot district. (Bangkok Post file photo)

YANGON - Diplomatic negotiations are under way to finalise demarcation and posting of Myanmar's borders with Thailand and India, vice minister for Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin told the lower house on Monday.

“In order to leave a good legacy for the next generation, we have been trying to start defining the border as fast as we can,” he said. An agreement had been reached to reboot border-defining efforts in the south, as a result of Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent visit to Thailand as Union minister for foreign affairs.

A delegation of Thai officials will visit Myanmar on Sept 16-17 to discuss the undertaking, according to the Myanmar Times.

The border between Myanmar and Thailand is 1318 miles (2135 kilometres) long, but by 1991 demarcation had been completed along only 36 miles. Renewed efforts between 1993 and 2013 came to naught. Two hundred miles of the border are in line for the first phase of construction.

Myanmar shares a 1010 mile border with India. U Kyaw Tin said the government had been trying to erect nine milestones along a disputed 24-mile pass in the Kabaw Valley. Just 79 miled remained to be completed in the north, to mark the intersection of Myanmar, India and China. This could proceed only after India and China settle their own territorial dispute, he said.  

To address the disputed 24 miles on the India border, a joint border working group convened in January of this year. A coordination meeting was held among ministers and secretaries for foreign affairs ministries in New Delhi on Aug 9. Sripriya Rangannthan, director general of India’s Ministry for External Affairs, is due to visit Myanmar on Aug 22.

Myanmar’s border with China stretches 1348 miles, and has been demarcated since 1960. The 149 mile frontier with Laos has been demarcated, with the Mekong River the fixed border.

Laos President Bounnhang Vorachith’s recent visit to Myanmar saw an agreement inked on joint management of the Friendship Bridge between the two countries. It was also agreed that a bronze plaque would be installed to mark the border point on the bridge.

The 168 mile Myanmar-Bangladesh border was demarcated at the Naf River in 1964. Inland borders were further defined in 1998.

Seeing to incomplete border demarcation is a pressing duty of the current government, said Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Maung Myint. He noted recent political developments had paved the way for progress on the issue.

“It is a good time to continue defining the border with Thailand as the area is stable now.”

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