Burma Re-establishes Diplomatic Ties with North Korea
covering burma and southeast asia
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Burma Re-establishes Diplomatic Ties with North Korea

By The Associated Press/Rangoon, Burma Thursday, April 26, 2007


Burma and North Korea, two of Asia's most repressive regimes, signed an agreement Thursday to resume diplomatic ties during a visit to Burma by the North Korean vice foreign minister, an official said.

Burma severed diplomatic relations with North Korea in 1983, following a fatal bombing blamed o­n North Korean commandos during a visit to Yangon by former South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan.

The two countries have been quietly working to normalize relations for the past few years. The two governments routinely meet at regional meetings, and Burma has reportedly bought weapons from North Korea.

Burma's deputy foreign minister, Kyaw Thu, told reporters the agreement to restore ties was signed Thursday morning o­n the second day of the three-day visit by North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il, whose trip had been cloaked in secrecy.

It is now up to Pyongyang whether it will open diplomatic offices in Burma, Kyaw Thu said.

China, which shares borders with the two countries and has close trade and economic ties with both regimes, welcomed the reconciliation.

"North Korea and Burma are both friendly neighbors of China," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. "We are happy to see and welcome the improvement of their bilateral ties."

Both Burma and North Korea have been widely criticized for their authoritarian governments, with Burma drawing censure especially for its detention of political opponents, including Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

North Korea has drawn international condemnation for its refusal to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

In 2005, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice listed Burma and North Korea as among the six countries that were "outposts of tyranny."

In the 1983 bombing in Rangoon, the South Korean president was unhurt, but 21 people were killed, including four South Korean Cabinet ministers.

Three North Korean commandos involved in the bombing were detained—one was hung, a second blew himself up during his arrest and a third, Kang Ming Chul, remains in Rangoon's Insein prison.


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