Senator Webb Cancels Burma Visit
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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Senator Webb Cancels Burma Visit

By BA KAUNG Thursday, June 3, 2010


US Senator Jim Webb has canceled his planned visit to Burma, saying it would be “unwise and counterproductive” for him to go there while new allegations were surfacing about possible nuclear cooperation between Naypyidaw and North Korea.

In a statement issued by his office in Washington, Webb also said he would urge President Barack Obama to appoint a special envoy to tackle all issues relating to US-Burma relations.

Sen. Jim Webb (Center), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) and Sen. John McCain (L) participate in news conference on Capitol Hill in February. (Photo: Getty Image)
Webb was to have begun his visit to Burma on Thursday.

Announcing the last-minute cancellation on Thursday, Webb's office issued a statement by the senator saying: “News reports published today contain new allegations regarding the possibility that the Burmese government has been working in conjunction with North Korea in order to develop a nuclear program.”

The announcement did not say which news media had carried the reports. But the Doha-based television station Al Jazeera said it would broadcast on Friday a program made by the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) on Burma's secret nuclear program.

The DVB program reports on key files and other information smuggled out of Burma by a Burmese army defector, Major Sai Thein Win, a former deputy commander of a top-secret military factory at a town called Myaing. The smuggled material reportedly supports suspicions that North Korea is helping Burma develop a nuclear capability.

“It is unclear whether these allegations have substantive merit,” said Webb in his statement. “However, given the fact that Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell recently accused Burma of violating UN Security Council Resolution 1874 with respect to a suspected shipment of arms from North Korea, there are now two unresolved matters related to activities of serious concern between these two countries.

“Until there is further clarification on these matters, I believe it would be unwise and potentially counterproductive for me to visit Burma.”

During a visit to Burma in August 2009, Webb met detained Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the regime supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

Rangoon sources said that the program of the visit Webb was to have begun on Thursday included meetings with Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein and opposition figures.

In his Washington statement, Webb said: “I strongly believe that a continuation of dialogue between our two countries is important for the evolution of a more open governmental system and for the future strategic balance in Southeast Asia. However, a productive dialogue will be achievable only when these two matters are further clarified.”

Webb added: “In the interim period, I intend to strongly suggest to the President that he fulfill the requirements of Public Law 110-286 and immediately appoint a special envoy to address the entire range of issues regarding relations between the United States and Burma.”

Webb chairs the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He was the first US senator last year to visit Burma in more than 10 years, and he remains the only American official to meet with Than Shwe.

He is strongly critical of the US administration’s economic sanctions against Burma, arguing that isolating Burma has strengthened China's grip, weakened US influence and done nothing to improve the junta's behavior.

During his visit to Burma in August 2009, Webb secured the release of an American citizen who was arrested after illegally entering Suu Kyi's home.

The visit he was to have begun on Thursday was part of an Asian tour that has taken him to Thailand and South Korea. The US embassy in Bangkok said he would address a press conference there on Thursday evening.

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plan B Wrote:

It is useless to convince any Man Friday of uncle Crusoe's fault.

You know who they are. Just read the first line of every post.

1)It demonstrate any bitter uncivil behavior against anyone that do not agree with Irrawaddy.
2 Blaming SPDC for everything and anything without true regards or practical remedies to the harms that the most vulnerable one in Myanmar have to endure.

"Appointing a special envoy".

I will say the country that most responsible for treating Myanmar as a "Banana Republic" is swallowing the spit that it can't find?
How degrading.

A few months ago the ambassador to Myanmar was making remarks and effecting acts that are outright unbecoming.

Now Webb is pushing for "Special Envoy"
Than Shwe must be thrilled.

For those who wish Than Shwe the worst wait and see how Than Shwe plays this out to his own advantage.

Than Shwe is the master of "Having the cake and eating it too".

Now can you live with that fact?

Who is the moron again?

I do not think it is MP4UMPF.

DetDoe Wrote:
Where has your king got the money to invest in BP from? Is he a member of the Ali Baba Than Shwe and his 30 thieves?
Be real, get lost!

PB Publico Wrote:
It is clear that Myanmar Patriot 4 is very, very knowledgeable and equally smart in his services to his master HM Shwebo Min II. He adds colours to these columns. His humours are kind of unique, though often saddening.
Let me urge "Mr Patriot" to carry on.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
To all the morons against the junta. How stupid can you get? You want to cut the nose to spite the face?
All this nuke propaganda is just ratchetting op preparations for a US invasion of Burma sometime in the future. Burma's nuke is just WMD (counterpart of Iraq's weapon of mass destruction). The US media is softening the US public for support.
For goodness sake, nukes are useless for Burma.Where are the ICBM(Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles)to deliver the nukes?Burma is a rural country with no technological or engineering expertise for the weapon and delivery system.
Our king HM King shwebomin II's contemporary research for International Relations was Nuclear Deterrent, and Politics of the Global Environement.
You are ALL so sickening. So vile. If the US invades Burma - it can if it wants to- think of what will happen to your families and relatives. Don't tempt fate because you hate the SPDC.
It is a nightmare scenerio. Burma gets on well with all neighbours. Jim Webb just gives a lame excuse,afraid of being snubbed

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
Leave Burma alone, President Obama.There is no mileage in it. Concentrate on plugging the hole gushing out millions of barrel of crude oil, destroying the local economy.
No, we haven't lost any money on BP shares. Our king HM King Shwebomin II had advised us to unload them some time ago and switch the funds to US dollars. We are doing nicely, thank you. Keep up with the good work regarding economic recovery.

Best of luck!

Zam Mang Wrote:
Jim Webb may never know about Than Shwe. Than Shwe is not running just a dirty business, he himself is a dirty man. Jim Webb may never be able to cleanse Than Shwe. Than Shwe's blood contains contaminated beggar's blood plus thief's blood. By birth, he is an untrustworthy person.

Moe Aung Wrote:
Interesting to see that there's a line Webb cannot cross with impunity.

Will the regime provide an ironclad excuse for intervention by doggedly pursuing its nuclear ambition? Are they not content with digging a deep enough hole for themselves in their own internal affairs?

Tom Tun Wrote:
Well, now we are reading the resignation letter of Sen. Jim Webb, and I am wondering who else in the US government wants to take his position.
It is for sure that there is no positive political outcome for American politicians for getting involved in Burmese politic. Another point is Jim Webb probably took that temporary position only to rescue John Yettaw.
Anyway, I wish Mr. Webb best of luck.
The US government knew all along that the Burmese regime is trying to get nukes. I feel like the US government is treating Burmese people like the way they treat the "Tea Party Activists" in US. It is a laughing matter.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
“Until there is further clarification on these matters, I believe it would be unwise and potentially counterproductive for me to visit Burma.”
Finally he has said it!
Since day one, US engagement with Than Shwe's regime holds no water for Burma's freedom and democracy. He started the ruse and now he has to admit it - failed.
Wen Jiabao beat him to the mark and he admitted defeat, citing nuclear problems. China is the Godfather in this case and Hu Jintao set up North Korea's midget with the South Koreans with a SINISTER motive of killing all three birds - North Korea, South Korea and specifically Japan - with only one stone, in case Obama puts his wrong foot out and attacked the midget Kim Jong Il for killing South Korean sailors.
In this case, South Korea would be collateral damage while the midget and company would find themselves in hell.
And US main ally Japan would fare WORSE as all nuclear warheads in Kim Jong Il's arsenal would land on Japan's soil no doubt lest ye all forget.

PB publico Wrote:
Now Mr Webb seems to understand how difficult and terrible it is to make a fair deal with the junta. They are not listening to you. They want you to listen to them.
Make no mistake. You must understand them, for they don't want to understand you, simply because it is suicidal for them to understand you.

highseat Wrote:
Senator Webb probably cancelled the trip at the last moment on account of the second class treatment he would get after the Chinese premier. Typical American egoism.

EKA Wrote:
The allegations about North Korea´s nuclear involvement in Burma are by no standard new. Varies media have over the past year been reporting on the installations of nuclear reactor(s) using North Korea engineers. Furthermore it has been reported that North Korea has Engineered the construction of a large tunnel system throughout the country allegedly for the purpose of hosting arms and nuclear technology factories.

ko lay Wrote:
Nothing's gonna change inside Myanmar. China and Russia are the friends of Than Shwe and the army junta. Now the Chinese premier is visiting Myanmar,soon you will see Russians will follow, nothing's gonna stop them. American and the West should take strong steps to stop the junta from becoming a nuclear power.

Roland Watson Wrote:
Just so everyone is aware, Public Law 110-286 is the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act. Webb wouldn't even refer to it by name.

This is also the law that calls for the Report on Military and Intelligence Aid to Burma, which provision, like the special envoy, the Obama Administration has yet to fulfill.

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