Bangkok – Nobody was probably more surprised – perhaps even embarrassed - than Mr Thaksin Shinawatra when a Myanmar minister said the bombers behind Yangon’s triple blasts were trained in a neighbouring country (read: Thailand) by an internationally-known organisation of a superpower (read: CIA and the United States). After all, the Thai Prime Minister is known to be a very good friend of Myanmar’s ruling generals.
“We are surprised by the statement,” Mr Thaksin told reporters on May 17, a day after Myanmar’s Information Minister, Brigadier-General Kyaw Hsan, made the allegation.
BG Kyaw Hsan had claimed that RDX, the explosives used in the May 7 bombings, originated from “training conducted with foreign experts at a place in a neighbouring country by a world-famous organisation of a certain superpower nation”.
Mr Thaksin said: “Thailand has no policy of interfering in neighbouring countries’ domestic affairs. We do not allow anyone to use Thai soil to attack neighbouring countries.”
Mr Aung Zaw, editor of the Irrawaddy magazine based in Chiang Mai, said Yangon’s generals had embarrassed Mr Thaksin with their "fiction". “It was hardly the way to treat a good friend who could be relied on for occasional loans and other help,” he commented.
The editor said some Myanmar dissidents in Thailand suspect that Yangon is exploiting the bomb blasts to put pressure on the Thai government and Thailand, where hundreds of Burmese activists and dissidents live.
A commentary published in the Bangkok Post said Myanmar had turned a serious terrorist incident into both “farce and confusion with its ridiculous charge that the murderous violence was a plot by Thailand and the United States Central Intelligence Agency”.
“The breathtakingly bizarre conspiracy invented by Rangoon illustrates just how out of touch the generals have become over 43 years of unbroken military rule.
"Burma's preposterous claims about the bombing are ultimately unfriendly and unneighbourly actions. Thailand should reconsider its attempts to bend over backwards to help non-existent democratic reform. The government should act in the interest of Thailand and democracy, not the interest of Rangoon,” the commentary added.
* Burma trivialises terrorist attacks (Bangkok Post, May 19)
* Regime's theories become increasingly implausible (Bangkok Post, May 18)
* PM: We do not abet terrorism (Bangkok Post, May 17)