Myanmar reopens Three Pagodas border crossing at Kanchanaburi to celebrate Thai king’s birthday

KANCHANABURI, Dec 8 – Myanmar has reopened the Three Pagodas border crossing, connecting Thailand’s Kanchanaburi and Myanmar’s Payathonzu in Kayin State to celebrate the Thai king’s 83rd birthday Dec 5 after a two-year closure.

Myanmar closed the border at Three Pagodas pass two years ago, citing internal security reasons despite Thailand’s negotiation for border reopening for trade.

The Myanmar authorities said they reopened the border to allow tourists to cross as the fighting between the Myanmar army, and the Democratic Buddhist Karen Army in the area has ended.

Sangkhlaburi district chief Chamrat Kangnoi said the reopening of the border is temporarily open for tourists daily from 6am to 6pm.

Small traders are prepared to reopen their shops at the border market on the Thai side.

The Kanchanaburi governor ordered local Thai authorities to be vigilant regarding contraband goods and illegal workers who may flow into Thailand.  (MCOT online news)

Burma not nuclear, says Abhisit

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has dismissed claims in a leaked US cable that Burma is building a nuclear programme with help from North Korea.

Mr Abhisit said yesterday there was no evidence to support the accusation that Burma possesses or is producing a nuclear weapon.

He said none of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations members has any intention to possess nuclear weapons.

“I can remember that Burma confirmed in an Asean-US summit that it wanted to see Asean as a nuclear-free region,” Mr Abhisit said.

Still, he said Thailand had been monitoring movements in neighbouring countries for the sake of national security.

A cable from the US embassy in Rangoon, released on Thursday by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, quoted a Burmese officer as saying he had witnessed North Korean technicians helping build a nuclear facility.

One foreign businessman told the embassy he had seen reinforced steel bars, larger than for a factory project, being shipped on a barge.

Dockworkers also told of seeing suspicious cargo. A cable dating from August 2004 revealed information from a Burmese officer in an engineering unit who said surface-to-air missiles were being built at a site in Minbu town in west-central Burma.

He said about 300 North Koreans were working at the site, although the US cable noted this was improbably high, The Guardian newspaper in Britain reported.

Burma has dismissed reports of its nuclear intentions and brushed aside Western concerns about its possible cooperation with North Korea.