Burma’s North Korea Connection
covering burma and southeast asia
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Burma’s North Korea Connection


By Aung Zaw AUGUST, 2006 - VOLUME 14 NO.8


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The world needs to be wary of the warming military relations between the Than Shwe regime and missile-wielding Pyongyang


 


Burma is a poor country but the military regime is rich enough to expand its armed forces. The regime is buying army weapons and upgrading its air force—using money raised from selling the country’s natural gas reserves to neighboring countries while the Burmese population suffers almost daily power blackouts.


 


Burmese defense analysts have told The Irrawaddy that the regime’s leaders are quite eager to buy more arms, ammunition and jet fighters.


 


Dissident groups in exile, who claim to have information o­n the military shopping list, accuse the regime of seeking to buy nuclear weapons from North Korea.


 


In early July, a dissident source told The Irrawaddy that a North Korean ship carrying a senior Korean nuclear technology expert, Maj Hon Kil Dong, arrived in Rangoon with a biological and nuclear package. Western analysts and intelligence sources quickly dismissed this claim, but conceded it is possible that Burma would seek missile technology from Pyongyang.


 


Australian defense analyst Andrew Selth says Burma is seemingly pursuing o­nly conventional arms and technology rather than high-tech long-rang missiles. There is little solid evidence, so far, that Burma is seeking nuclear technology from North Korea.


 


Exiled groups need to come up with hard evidence to back up their claims.


 


The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Eric John, said in February that Washington’s concerns have been heightened by what appears to be the imminent re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Burma and North Korea.



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