A THAI-MYANMAR discussion on the reopening of the Mae Sai-Tachileik international border checkpoint scheduled for Thursday Feb. 16 was cancelled at the last minute because of a military threat by forces opposing the Myanmar junta, Naewna newspaper quotes sources in Chiang Rai province as saying today (Feb. 18).
This meeting was to take place at 1G1 Hotel in the Shan border town Tachileik which is directly opposite Chiang Rai province’s Mae Sai town.
It was to be attended by Chiang Rai Governor Mr. Puttipong Sirimat and his team with Myanmar to be represented by Shan State Chief Minister U Aung Zaw Aye and Tachileik Province Governor Myint Naing.
Even so, sources in Tachileik sent word that the real reason the talks were cancelled was because Myanmar authorities had detected the movement of anti-junta forces near the meeting venue and decided to scrap it out of security concerns.
The Myanmar side has officially told Thai officials that the Mae Sai-Tachileik checkpoint could be simultaneously reopened on Feb. 20 without a meeting having to be held if the Thai side is ready to do so and there are no problems. Should problems arise then this step would have to be put off until they are resolved.
It was also reported that Tachileik authorities had prepared to reopen the border crossing as traffic and other signs had been freshly repainted.
This border checkpoint has been closed since March 24, 2018 in part to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic with the second bridge being left open for traffic between the two countries.
Mae Sai-Tachileik international border checkpoint. Photos: Naewna