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COMMENTARY
Kang Nam Could Hold a Message, not just Arms
By YENI Tuesday, June 23, 2009


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The mystery voyage of a North Korean ship believed to be carrying arms for Burma could hide an attempt by the Burmese regime to discover just how far the US and its allies would go to carry out the “stop and search” provisions of a new United Nations resolution.

The voyage of the Kang Nam follows the visit to North Korea last November by Burma's third highest ranking general, joint chief-of-staff Thura Shwe Mann, at a time when Burma's isolated regime is desperately searching for the arms and technology to develop its armed forces in the face of an arms embargo by the US and its western allies.

During the visit, high-ranking North Korean military officials showed Shwe Mann various military institutions and camps, according to a secret report obtained recently by The Irrawaddy.

Military analysts have suggested that the North Korean Communist regime has provided Burma with weapons, military technology and expertise in underground tunneling used for concealing military installations in exchange for foodstuffs and agricultural products.

South Korea's intelligence agency believes that the Kang Nam, accused of engaging in illicit trade in the past, is carrying weapons and is sailing towards Rangoon.

A US Navy vessel is shadowing the Kang Nam, and the Burmese generals are sure to be observing very carefully how Washington handles a potential confrontation.

The UN resolution allows the US to challenge the Kang Nam and request an examination of its cargo, but would not permit the Korean ship to be boarded by force.

Although North Korea is highly unlikely to submit the ship to a search, a confrontation on the high seas could afford the Burmese regime with an indication of how Washington would react to Burmese provocations. It could influence the way the regime pushes ahead with its so-called "roadmap to democracy" and deals with the challenges posed by the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi and the current Burmese army assault on the Karen armed opposition.

So far, Burma has been able to count on the continued support of its two UN allies, China and Russia, who can use their veto powers to block any Security Council action against the regime,

A recent visit to China by Burma's second highest ranking general, Maung Aye, appeared to be an attempt to secure a reassurance of Beijing’s continued support.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping reminded Maung Aye that Burma was among the first group of countries to forge diplomatic ties with China, and he said the two countries should implement on-going projects to boost their economies. China begins work on a 1,100 km gas and oil pipeline to Burma in September.

Russia’s position became clear on Sunday, when the country’s Foreign Ministry announced that Moscow has rejected the use of political and economic pressure to influence the Burmese regime. According to the news website, www. itar-tass.com, Russia opposed attempts to internationalize the internal situation in Burma, because it does not endanger peace and security in the region and the world at large.

"We see no reasons why the UN Security Council should discuss Myanmar (Burma)," the statement said.

Knowing that the latest UN resolution is in reality toothless, the Burmese generals have invited UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit their country again.

Ban visited Burma after last year's devastating Cyclone Nargis and was instrumental in getting the isolationist government to allow more foreign relief workers into the country. Observers are asking what he can achieve this time. 

Political observers are now speculating that, ignoring global outrage and international diplomatic pressure, the court in Insein Prison will find detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi guilty of harboring an American intruder.

A source closed to the Naypyidaw center of power, told The Irrawaddy that Burma's junta leader has already ordered the Insein Prison court to hand Suu Kyi a three-year sentence.



COMMENTS (18)
 
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Tom Tun Wrote:
03/07/2009
Dear Irrawaddy,

How can I share an article that I want Burmese people to read? In the near future, I will write about something that all Burmese citizens need to know, such as justice, freedom, natural rights and human rights. Later I will share the "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms". It will be eye opening and educational. Please let me know how can I send the file. Time is very precious to me, so I may not be able to write much, but I will try to finish as soon as I can. Please advise me and send me email if you like.

Thank you.

[Ed.: Submissions can be sent to [email protected]]

Tom Tun Wrote:
02/07/2009
Okkar,
If The Irrawaddy is spreading rumors and false news, why are you here? People have common sense. We can sort out fake and real, as well as we can sort out who you support and who you are against. You need to use more common sense, Mister.

Tom Tun Wrote:
02/07/2009
Okkar,
Do you know anything about freedom of the press? I guess you don't. I also believe you are another low-educated regime stooge, too. I can guess it because the information and history you use here are a lot of times wrong. You cannot answer justice, freedom meanings, and you use stoning to death punishment as Roman which is absolutely wrong. It was used in Jewish and mostly in Muslim countries and still exists in Saudi Arabia, Somalia and the UAE. Can you see the future? I cannot see the future. I have the right to compare anything to anything. Do you know anything about Winston Churchill except [that he was] prime minister of Britain? What was Churchill professionally before he became prime minister? Let us see your knowledge of history. I hope you will not run away from my question this time. Why don't we start good conversations instead of mocking each other. The future belongs to those who build it (Barack Obama).

Okkar Wrote:
01/07/2009
The Irrawaddy is hardly on a par with Winston Churchill. Just because wolves are donning sheep's clothing, that doesn't make them become sheep. Comparing The Irrawaddy to Winston Churchill is like Nick Griffin using poppy badge and two finger salute to get votes!

The Irrawaddy does not know anything else but generating rumours and speculation. The photos of the DPRK visit were mixed stock images of the DPRK armed forces from Getty Images. Only fools would believe The Irrawaddy's so-called exposé.

plan B Wrote:
29/06/2009
"The great messiah has spoken, and talked and talked."
Not worthy even as sarcasm. As long as ignorant people that espouse unrealistic advocacy persist in this forum I will be glad to remind them of their idiocy.
Discrediting my concern for the SPDC's unjust persecution against DASSK does not blind others to the fact that you are still an empty blower.
Where is the beef?
Ask yourself what have I done that is helpful to one suffering Burmese in Burma, lately, directly or indirectly?
Then you may whine about my advocacy besides the usual misquoting, name dropping, etc.

plan B Wrote:
29/06/2009
"I am studying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom at this moment, I will share it here when I have finished."
Good going.

Tom Tun Wrote:
29/06/2009
Plan B,
Thank you for your support. I will not detour from my objective. I am not planning to give up sharing my thinking and my vision for Burma. Our voice may not reach Burma at this moment, but they can not silence us forever. Our voice will be heard one day. I am studying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom at this moment, I will share it here when I have finished.

planB Wrote:
27/06/2009
Tom Tun

"Lets keep our fingers crossed for now."

Despite the fear and doubt that you might have, you can still contribute by:
Highlighting hypocrisy and continue to promote practical viable responsible advocacy that you have done.

"It is always darkest before the dawn."

Don't let any loud-mouthed opinions sway you to abandon the interest that you have for the benefit of Burma. Especially the one that is meant to be hurtful and instill hopelessness.


Moe Aung Wrote:
26/06/2009
plan B,

"Redeem yourself through helping, if not directly, by indirectly encouraging discourses among the opinionated, as well as by highlighting opportunities for engagement and dialogue with the SPDC."

The great messiah has spoken, and talked and talked.

Opinionated? Definitely. Deluded? Certainly an incredulous, pathological and fatal attraction to the redemption and rehabilitation potential of the junta.

Helping? Whom? By peddling this junta-friendly ASSK/opposition-bashing line, despite your professed concern about the trial not so much for ASSK as for the regime's image.

Tom Tun Wrote:
26/06/2009
Before WW2, Winston Churchill predicted that Hitler would be a big threat to the world and he would need to be stopped. But, hardly anyone believed Winston until Hitler invaded Poland. Who knows, maybe "The Irrawaddy" knows something that we don't know.

Sometimes the truth shows itself in the future. For now, it looks like a hoax. But, one thing we can be sure of is that Burmese regime also wants to play on the world stage, like Kim Jong Ill. If it ever happens, we will be rewinding history another 100 years. I hope it will not happen. Anyway, I also worry about "The Irrawaddy's" journalism. Lets keep our fingers crossed for now.

plan B Wrote:
26/06/2009
Here we go again
Personal attack. Obviously to hide your own near impossible 3S advocacy.
If there is ANY redemptive value for the suffering mass at all this attack might seem reasonable.
Even today Irrawaddy is suggesting this:
http://irrawaddy.org/opinion_story.php?art_id=16181

Wake up man, your 3S ideal is not happening. Redeem yourself through helping, if not directly, by indirectly encouraging discourses among the opinionated, as well as by highlighting opportunities for engagement and dialogue with the SPDC.
This might be an anathema in your book of hatred for the SPDC, but please try to refrain from your negative assumptions.

Moe Aung Wrote:
25/06/2009
planB,

"Detracting attention to ties with N Korea...
Muddying the water by associating with N Korea will serve no purpose."

Looks like you would censor these news events as they unfold, and related comments and analyses in particular, if they do not fit into your agenda. Your totalitarian streak is showing time and again behind that pluralistic facade.You'd be right at home on the editorial board of The New Light of Myanmar.

Okkar,

"In ancient Rome,the likes of Yeni would be stoned to death for spreading poisonous lies."

In your generals' Burma he'd get the same treatment on your recommendation to be sure.

"The Irrawaddy is just attempting to stir up suspicions about the DPRK ship simply to try and detract the SPDC from completely wiping out the KNLA."

Very flattering. If only The Irrawaddy could achieve that singlehandedly. Typically, you and plan B would rather shoot the messenger when it's the N Koreans who decided to sail into Thilawa with a lethal cargo at this juncture.

Tom Tun Wrote:
25/06/2009
Okkar,
Are you sure of your history about stoning to death in ancient Rome? Is it from Rome or is it from Middle East, where Christianity and Islam religions were born? I am pretty curious as a scholar of history. I studied a lot about the Roman empire such as Caesar, Augustus, Pompae, Cicero, Cato, Marcus Aurelius, and ruthless Nero, but I did not remember seeing stoning punishment. Roman popular punishment is crucification, which is to put the guilty party on the cross. Stoning to death is not Roman. Careful Okkar The Vatican and Italians will be offended by your accusations. If you want to talk about a subject, make sure you know it well.

Ursus Wrote:
24/06/2009
Okkar, what would happen to Yeni in Burma? Burma is nothing else than ancient Rome multiplied by ten. In Burma you get even raped and tortured before they stone you. Even raping of underage girls happens almost daily by the army. The Romans had at least a bit of culture and decency. We can not say that of the Burmese regime, your heroes!
By the way, Yeni writes nothing different than the international press, why don't you blame them? You think you're an all-knowing great guy? No, you're just another fool!

KKK Wrote:
24/06/2009
To Tom Tun: I totally agree with your comment. These tunnels are going to be the generals' tombs. The US is broke. The US government needs cheap and junk products from China. Finally, the communists beat the capitalists. Obama and NATO group cannot and will not do anything. They are formed by needy, greedy people.

Tom Tun Wrote:
24/06/2009
Kim Jong Ill, the North Korean leader's palaces and compound are heavily guarded and secretive. Than Shwe moved his capital city to isolated territory. What is next? Some secret turnels and relationship with North Korea regime—some questions pop up. The Russians and Chinese say Burma is not a threat to the region. That statement serves very well for the Russians and Chinese. They have nothing to lose, economically, politically and geographically. The Reds move into the territory of South America and Africa. Let's see what President Obama and his NATO group do. Western capitalist money is taken away by communist cheap products. Communists have corrupted capitalists. Now, what is next Mr Obama? I hope that an American cabinet member is reading this article and comments. It's a bad time for being on the right side, but we will beat the odds.

Okkar Wrote:
24/06/2009
In ancient Rome, the likes of Yeni would be stoned to death for spreading poisonous lies. While The Irrawaddy claims to be an "online magazine by [independent] exiled journalists." It is anything but independent. It is biased, often spreads lies, rumours and fabrications and often contradicts the democratic values they claim to support. Lately, it has become a propaganda machine for the KNU, just like The New Light of Myanmar is for the SPDC. The Irrawaddy has become so much like the NLM that one can't even tell them apart these days.

The Irrawaddy is just attempting to stir up suspicions on about the DPRK ship simply to try and detract Sthe PDC from completely wiping out the KNLA. After all, the KNLA is running on the back foot, bases have been lost and their will to carry on fighting has been well and truly sapped. Therefore, The Irrawaddy needs to peddle more and more fabrications and stir up trouble to help the KNLA. That's what they call good journalist ethic? How pathetic!

planB Wrote:
23/06/2009
If DASSk is the focus, one should try to describe in detail the ongoing kangaroo court proceedings. Detracting attention to ties with N Korea ,which is the result of the policy of the West, directly or indirectly, will only show the West at best its policy of dismissing the SPDC as something other than a worthy party to be dealt with; at worst it will just push the SPDC regime to go ahead with what they would like to achieve.
Any one with half a brain will realize that there are only a few possible outcomes. Assuming the SPDC is not going to use the DASSK trial as a trump card, given Than Shwe's sentiment against DASSK:
1) It can/will put her back into detention.
2) Can delay the trial indefinitely
3) Expel DASSK as a British subject.
Any one of these outcomes will be a walk in the park for this regime. They have nothing to lose.
Muddying the water by associating with N Korea will serve no purpose. Russia clearly defines the UNSC as a non-factor.

More Articles in This Section

bullet Sizing Up an Icon

bullet Fighting Corruption Begins at Home

bullet Future of Exiled Burmese Media

bullet How Much Freedom Does Burmese Media Enjoy?

bullet Five Days in Burma

bullet Turning Burma into Next Asian Tiger No Simple Task

bullet With Suu Kyi On Board, Is Burma Finally Moving Toward Real Change?

bullet The ‘Rule of Law’ in Burma

bullet New Doors are Opening in Burma

bullet A Good Beginning to the New Year






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