US Focus on Pyongyang Risks Overlooking Burma
covering burma and southeast asia
Tuesday, February 07, 2023


US Focus on Pyongyang Risks Overlooking Burma

By SIMON ROUGHNEEN Monday, August 10, 2009

(Page 2 of 2)

Then, on May 25, the Kim Jong-il government undertook an underground nuclear test, prompting Obama to order increased missile defenses to be placed on Hawaii in response.

If the US and Pyongyang resume dialogue or if the US seeks to revive six-party talks down the line, it remains to be seen whether the links between North Korea and Naypyidaw will be up for discussion.

The director of The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, Walter Lohman, told The Irrawaddy that the Burma issue “should be on the agenda of any resumption of six-party talks,” given that “it was the [US] secretary herself who validated the charges [of North Korea-Burma collaboration] a couple weeks ago in Phuket.”

While there is no “smoking gun” in Burma yet, the facts on the ground require verification. Whether this can be achieved by packaging the Burma issue into any future six-party talks remains to be seen.

Scott Snyder, adjunct senior fellow for Korea Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, outlined to The Irrawaddy that any Burma inspections procedure "should first be addressed through the IAEA, with the board of the IAEA requesting that inspections of suspect sites in Burma be allowed. If a formal request is made and rejected, then the board of the IAEA may elect to refer the issue to the UN Security Council.  This is the same path that the issue of NK special inspections took during the first North Korea nuclear crisis in 1992-93. "

A separate UN Security Council process would be difficult, and potentially futile, given that Chinese consent would be required for any resolution requesting the Burmese junta to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections.

Even then, as Prof Caballero Anthony noted, the Burmese generals would not be obliged to consent.

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