07/17/2007, 00.00
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Illegal trade in valuable lumber continues between Myanmar and China

Every day 80 trucks cross the border unchecked to supply wood to Chinese factories. Environmentalists warn that Myanmar’s forests risk “total destruction.”

Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Environmentalists have expressed their shock at seeing mountains of logs transported on trucks across the border into China despite efforts to halt the trade to save the country's forests from total destruction.

A spokeswoman for a local environment group, the Pan Kachin Development Society, said on condition she not be named that up to 80 trucks had crossed the border each day in April.

For Myanmar's junta, timber is one of its major sources of desperately needed foreign currency.

Myanmar’s two main ethnic Kachin groups have partial control over the region. They too see the timber trade as a key source of income and have shown varying degrees of willingness to stop it.

For their part, local Chinese authorities along the border have not consistently enforced a year-old ban, creating pockets where timber still flows across the international boundary.

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