Burma's Nuclear Ambitions 'Threaten Regional Security'
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Burma's Nuclear Ambitions 'Threaten Regional Security'

By WAI MOE Friday, June 4, 2010


The Burmese junta’s ambition to become a nuclear power is a threat to regional security, according to a documentary by the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), which alleges that Naypyidaw is developing nuclear weapons and a missiles system with help from North Korea.

Quoting experts and defectors, the documentary, which was aired by Al Jazeera on Friday, said that if the junta achieves its goal, Burmese missiles could target neighboring countries, as well as threatening US military activities in the Indian Ocean.

Burmese army defector Maj Sai Thein Win, who is a missiles expert, said the junta is constructing nuclear and missiles facilities at at least two sites in Magwe and Mandalay divisions in central Burma.

“They [the junta] really want a [nuclear] bomb. That is their main objective,” said Sai Thein Win in the documentary. “They want to have rockets and nuclear warheads.”

Burma's relationship with North Korea is expected to be a hot topic at the 9th Asian Security Summit, also known as the “Shangri-La Dialogue,” which is being held on June 4-6 in Singapore. The US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is scheduled to attend the annual summit along with representatives from 26 countries, including Maj-Gen Aye Myint, the deputy defense minister of Burma. Gates is expected to raise the issue at the summit.

Following the latest allegations, Gates’ press secretary said the US is closely monitoring the junta’s cooperation with Pyongyang.

“We are concerned with [Burma’s] growing military ties with the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] and are following it closely to ensure that the multiple UNSCRs [UN Security Council Resolutions] are enforced,” Press Secretary Geoff Morrell reportedly told Agence France-Presse by e-mail. The Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 ban all North Korean arms exports.

However, Burmese Minister of Science and Technology U Thaung told a US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell that while acknowledging that the Burmese government had publicly announced its agreement to comply with UN Security Council resolutions, it also has “the duty to maintain and protect national sovereignty.”

Sai Thein Win said the secret project sites for the junta’s weapons are in Myaing, a town in Magwe Division, and Pyin Oo Lwin, also known as Maymyo, which is in Mandalay Division. The projects are under the command of the Directorate of Defense Service Science and Technology Research Center, but also involves U Thaung's Ministry of Science and Technology, said Sai Thein Winn.

Bases on statements from the defector, Robert Kelley, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the DVB: “Our analysis leads to only one conclusion: this technology is only for nuclear weapons, and not civilian use or nuclear power.”

Sai Thein Win told DVB that two companies in Singapore with German connections sold machinery to Burma’s Department of Technical and Vocational Education, which covers any missiles programs in the country.

Photos which were brought to Thailand by Sai Thein Win show German technicians working at the junta’s sites and even some officials from the Burmese embassy in Germany visiting a machinery-producing factory.

Kelley said in his analysis that although the German machinery was “very expensive and capable, they were sold without all of the accessories to make the ... parts required for many missile and nuclear applications.”

The DVB documentary adds to the growing evidence over the junta’s development of nuclear technology, in particular to a 2009 report by Australian Desmond Ball.

Quoting Burmese defectors, Ball said the Burmese armed forces established a “nuclear battalion” in 2000 whose operational base includes an underground complex in the mountains southwest of Naung Laing, near Pyin Oo Lwin, where the regime is reportedly constructing a nuclear reactor.

With North Korea's aid, the reactor in Naung Laing could be completed around 2012, and Burma could develop its first deliverable nuclear weapons by 2020, he said in the report.

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Terry Evans Wrote:
The Burmese generals are just a bunch of thugs and gangsters who can be toppled.
The future can be decided by the people of Burma, with leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi and Ko Ko Gyi in charge.

plan B Wrote:
"Can you really deny the accusations in evidence?"

Old news. The sanctions and pariah_lization has failed. Get over it and move on to remedy the compounded effect of west idiocy.

PB Publico, you obviously do not have any one living in Myanmar let alone any personal stake. When was the last time you did some thing positive for the citizenry that you help impoverished through promoting SPDC intransigence?

plan B Wrote:
"The plan(B) says other countries supporting Burma's democratic movement and revelation of the truth about the SPDC do not consider benefits of the people. May be so."

A bold and honest admission in this forum for the first time!

Support the people. Only A strong citizenry can effect a change in its government. Proven repeatedly in History.

A strong citizenry need health care, education and economic support.

SPDC cannot provide any of these, but the West policies have made it worst.

Bent on revenge for SPDC, an eye for an eye approach has made all SPDC haters blind.
Are you bind to the plight of my people PB Publico?

plan B Wrote:
Don't worry in a few more years all the embassies of the west will be asked to vacate unceremoniously. Then the transformation of Myanmar to DPRK will be complete.
It is the
1) Blind support of present policies of the west that hurt the Myanmar people more.
2) Immediate accusation of being an SPDC supporter for pointing out the fallacy, embodied by poster like PB Publico.
PB Publico is indeed an epitome of a Man Friday.

40+ years of policies that have not improved the SPDC's behavior in any way. Policies of useless sanctions carelessly applied. A banana republic approach from calling Myanmar, Burma, to less than dignified treatment if not outright rude approach to diplomacy. Yet there are people like PB Publico still howling for SPDC's blood.

It is the blood of the people that the West's policies have spilled. So stop howling to illuminate the dark fallacy of the West against the Burmese citizenry.

PB Publico Wrote:
Plan B is true to character. It is the plan B of the SPDC, right? Or less?
But it amounts to admitting its association with the other birds of the same feather. And the nuclear complicity.
The plan says other countries supporting Burma's democratic movement and revelation of the truth about the SPDC do not consider benefits of the people. May be so. But does the SPDC consider the wellbeing of the people of Burma? No other country is threatening the sovereighty of Burma. Right? Perhaps, excepting their support for the development of proper economy and democratic practice in Burma.
But why the rockets and the nukes that the SPDC want to possess? Are they not demons in pursuit of such policies? And oppression of the dissidents and the ordinary people? And the cases of thievery, robbery, rapes and murders of demonstrators as well as others for any other reasons?
Do you have a Plan C?
Can you really deny the accusations in evidence?

PB Publico Wrote:
Yes, what are you going to do now, Asean? And Thailand? The SPDC is aiming its rockets and nuclear warheads at you, at least in its dreams, for all intents and purposes.
I appreciate and congratulate Maj Sai Win Thein for his courage to dare.
But you'd better be careful and I suggest you stay in low profile from now on.
Remember your family in Burma is held hostage.

plan B Wrote:
Let see
1)Myanmar is the only country without comparable reasons demonized by the entire west for 4 decades.
2)The enormous difficulties of internal rebellions, external threats, white mercenaries and Nargis—against all these odds the SPDC survived.
3) Making the SPDC a pariah (historically unprecedented)thus forcing the SPDC to ally with other true pariah WEST/US haters such as DPRK, IRAN and VENEZUELA.
4)All the above have been justified by the instigation of self-serving entities.
Neither the west nor the anti-SPDC SSE EVER consider their policy based on the benefits of the people.
Myanmar going nuclear? Another ploy for UNSC intervention. Dream on, Irrawaddy.
Myanmar can just help DPRK going nuclear better.
Fishes from the delta for Missiles!
Cheap uranium from Myanmar for DPRK knavery against the US and west!
It is working well indeed.
What the west sows shall the west reap.

A.M.O Wrote:
Well, if things are truthful as it stands, then what is ASEAN going to do?

Do you guys have a non-proliferation agreement amongst member states? If so, what is the binding action on this?

You guys have to throw queries across the board.

Or do you guys still treat such issues as others' internal affairs?

ASEAN Sec Gen Mr Surin Pitsuwan is to act on this.

KKK Wrote:
Sai Thein Win, you're a true patriot and hero. We salute you a million times. We need more patriots like you. You are a true soldier. Not many soldiers can do like you, even Than Shwe, Maung Aye and Shwe Hmann. Excellent Job!!

bayintnaung Wrote:
Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF-
Either you are blind in one eye and can't see out of the other OR you must have a room temperature IQ.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
For the SPDC to stay aloof without explaining to the Burmese people and to the world about the nuclear energy projects is extemely foolish.
Failure to communicate with the world has caused and is causing suspicions and provides ample opportunities to the traitors to fabricate stories and tell lies.
The colonialist media and Burmese exiled traitors are fabricating vilest propaganda.
As for national security, the nuke option is NOT viable,according to our king HM King Shwebomin II.
Democracy and trust of the people and patriotism are the best defence weapons; wars are about people, not weapons, although the right weapons are prerequisite.
We appreciate the reasons for exiles to hate the SPDC but to actually suggest that Burma has nuke ambitions is downright evil and treasonous.
Haven't they learnt from Saddam's Weapon of Mass Destruction.
Anyway, foreign exchange for nukes and delivery system WOULD come from major oil companies.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
HOW PATHETIC! Burmese army defector Maj Sai Thein Win, who is a missiles expert, HOW did he become a missile expert in a country still in the age of the bullock cart?
Is he and other DVB (demented voices of Burma) being vile and ignorant to keep getting handouts from Norway?
Didn't Sadam Hussein's enemies tell lies to pave the way for the US to invade Iraq with terrible consequences?
They are simply fabricating reasons for US intervention. NOW look at this:
1.Burma gets on well with ALL neighbours.
2.So which country would be the target? The UK or the USA?
Are you being so thick to be so treasonous?Nukes without a delivery system is utterly useless and assured self-extermination.
2. How much will it cost to develop missiles, given that our people have not enough to eat? Where will the money come from?
3.No scientist/engineer to help develop the nukes can escape surveillance of you know who?
3. Burma can legitimately have nuclear energy.
4.SPDC must communicate with the people and the world about the energy program.

mong ching Wrote:
The nuclear ambition of the Asian countries, including Burma and Bangladesh, has one common characteristic - extension of power in the regional power play.

With the Bay of Bengal gas deposits appearing as a lucrative prospect, and lack of power to control or own it, the race seems to go up in one form or other.

For Burma, the deposits of refinable uranium itself is a big prospect for China, North Korea, the US, Russia and ...

we need to include the possible 'Middle Eastization of South and Southeast Asia.

PB Publico Wrote:
It may be reasonable to assume that Than Shwe took the advice of his close associate and subordinate U Thaung who has been well-connected with the DPRK for decades.
The DPRK has been exhibiting itself like "the Mouse That Roars" with the wicked use of its fledgling nuclear arsenal, assisted by Russia and China.
But my hunch is that the Burmese junta's nuclear ambition is only "a mouse-trap", that has now caught, red handed, the two rats that want to roar and fight like a lion but feeds on its own weaker race.
U Thaung's remark on the protection of Burma's sovereignty is laudable, but a misplaced principle, for they are the ones who already do much damaqe to that sovereignty by allowing incursions by China and Russia who, on the pretext of "not interfering in internal affairs of another country", have exploited the geopolitical and economic situations created by the junta.
The money should have been better spent on the welfare of the people to whom the sovereignty belongs.

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