Burmese Officials Celebrate Kim Jong Il's Birthday
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Burmese Officials Celebrate Kim Jong Il's Birthday

By LAWI WENG Monday, February 15, 2010


High-ranking Burmese military officials joined a ceremony to mark the 68th birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, according to Burma's state-run media.

Lt-Gen Tin Aye, ranked No 5 in the Tatmadaw (Burmese armed forces) hierarchy, attended a ceremony at the Chartrium Hotel in Rangoon on Sunday to mark the birthday of the North Korean leader.

The state-run The New Light of Myanmar on Monday ran a front-page story with a photograph of Lt-Gen Tin Aye and North Korean Ambassador H.E. Kim Sok Chol holding hands together at a welcome reception. Kim Jong Il's birthday will be on Tuesday.

Senior ministers including Nyan Win, the minister of foreign affairs; Maj-Gen Htay Oo, the minister of agriculture and irrigation and Maj Brig-Gen Aung Thein Lin, the chairman of the Yangon City Development Committee also attended the ceremony.

Analysts said the presence of Tin Aye signified a warmer relationship between the two countries.

A graduate of Defense Services Academy-9, 64-year-old Tin Aye has made official visits to various countries, including China, North Korea, Russia and Ukraine to procure arms and military equipment. He chairs the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL), often regarded as the armed forces' business arm in handling trade.

Analysts say Burma's military leaders see a kindred spirit in Kim Jong Il as a politician who dares to confront the United States and the West.

A full-page birthday tribute to the North Korean leader was approved by Burma's censorship board, and the Burmese language Popular Journal published a full-page story last week.

The article is expected to be carried by other journals when they appear on Wednesday.

In the privately run journal, the author, Maung Wint Htun, described Kim as a “wise” and “patriotic” leader who has created nuclear and guided missile programs, and other industries. The article praised Kim for sacrificing his life for the future of North Korea.

Burma and North Korea have developed a military relationship since the two countries restored diplomatic ties in 2007. Analysts believe that clandestine military ties between the two countries may have been reestablished as early as 1999, when junta officials paid a low-profile visit to North Korea.

Gen Shwe Mann, the regime's No 3 man, made a secret visit to Pyongyang in November 2008, according to a secret report leaked by Burmese officials in 2009.

During the visit, Shwe Mann signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with North Korea for military cooperation between the two countries.

In the MOU,  North Korea would build or supervise the construction of special Burmese military facilities, including tunnels and caves in which missiles, aircraft and even naval ships could be hidden. Burma would also receive expert training for its special forces, air defense training, plus a language training program between personnel in the two armed forces.

In July 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern over military links between North Korea and Burma, after evidence emerged that the Burmese junta may be trying to acquire nuclear technology from Pyongyang.

“We know that there are also growing concerns about military co-operation between North Korea and Burma, which we take very seriously,” Clinton told journalists in Bangkok during a visit to Southeast Asia. “It would be destabilizing for the region. It would pose a direct threat to Burma's neighbors.”

Military analysts say the North Korean regime has provided Burma with weapons, military technology transfers and expertise in underground tunneling used for concealing secret military installations and since 2002, dozens of North Korean technicians have assisted the Burmese armed forces.

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Yangontha Wrote:
It's no surprise at all to read that the high-ranking Burmese military officials joined a ceremony to mark the 68th birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who is a founding father of Than Shwe's country. Perhaps, we'll see more of this kind of ceremony in the future, if his sick father can survive this year !

Arkar Wrote:
Do they even care or know that Kim Jong Il is responsible for the bombing of the martyrs' memorial in 1983.

n Wrote:
This is outrageous. Has everyone in the army and government amnesia? Have they forgotten 1983? The brutal bombing of our national shrine?
They call themselves patriots. What a bunch of sell-outs. Where is the public apology from North Korea?

Ngal Hriang Wrote:
Than Shwe the leper is a close relative of Kim Jong Il the leper. Their relationship is based on their sickness of leprosy.

Kyaw Wrote:
Shame, shame, shame

James O'Brien Wrote:
Doesn't this tell you something?

It should.

Robert Wrote:
Let us not forget that there is just one country in Asia responsible for the fact that rogue states led by mass murderers can flourish or at least exist.
China is the sole sponsor of North Korea, Burma and now Iran. It would be quite a deja-vous if the boomerang hit China.

Ko Maung Wrote:
Did any general from the SPDC attend commemorations of Gen Aung San's birthday ?

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