Border pass remains closed
A month after the unilateral reopening of the Kiu Pha Wok border pass between Burma’s Mongton and Thailand’s Chiangmai, the Burmese side has yet to reciprocate, say sources from the border.
“The only Thai trucks allowed access to the Burmese side are those from
the MDX traveling to the Tasang dam site, 140 km away,” said a
businessman in Nawng Ook aka Arunothai, a Thai village right on the
border. “But nobody on its side has been allowed to come through its
MDX is a Bangkok-based company that has been involved in the $3 billion 3,300 MW Tasang dam project on the Salween since 1997.
The Kiu Pha Wok pass, commonly known as BP-1 (Boundary Post#1) pass, closed since May 2002, following confrontations between the two countries, was reopened on 31 January by Thailand.
However, the Burmese delegation to the Committee (TBC) meeting #55, held on 25 February in Tachilek, said it had yet to receive any instructions from the new capital with regards to the reopening of BP-1.
“Every week, from Thursday to Saturday, designated as the market days, both the immigration and the customs officials can be seen opening their offices to await for the incoming traders who never appear from the Burma side,” said a source who visited the area recently. “It is an effort wasted. I wish the (Chiangmai) governor call it quits soon.”
People on the Burmese side meanwhile are being told “not to waste your time hoping for the inconceivable” by the officials, according to a source from Pongpakhem, 16 km north of the pass.
Despite the closure the border is being crossed back and forth each day by people from all walks of life from Burma, from common people seeking medical treatment or visiting relatives to migrant workers and human and drug traffickers, according to the sources.