Asean's New Dilemma: Burma's Nuclear Ambition
By Kavi Chongkittavorn Sunday, May 30, 2010

(Page 2 of 2)

At the recent Nuclear Summit in Washington DC, leaders from Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were invited by US President Barack Obama to share their views on non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy. They supported the summit's plan of action to prevent nuclear terrorism. All these Asean members have long-term plans to build nuclear power plants for peaceful use as energy sources. Vietnam has long decided on building two, while Thailand is planning one in the next ten years. Indonesia has serious parliamentary support to explore a nuclear option. Even the Singapore Economic Strategies Committee has recommended nuclear energy should be considered as a possible long-term solution to the island's energy security. Obama will certainly raise the issue again when he visits Indonesia in the second week of this month.

What is most intriguing has been the lack of serious attention from the Thai security apparatus regarding the nuclearization of Burma. Apart from the two informal meetings convened by the Defence Council at the end of last year, the topic has been discussed only among a handful of military intelligence officials who have worked closely with their Australian counterparts. The National Security Council still does not believe Burma has that kind of ambition, not to mention the overall nuclear capacity to embark on the controversial program. Concerned officials argued that domestic problems still have precedence.

Kavi Chongkittavorn is senior editor and a columnist at the Bangkok-based English-language daily newspaper, The Nation. This article appeared in The Nation on Monday.

  1  |  2  | 

Salai Lian Wrote:
One could be pessimistic about Burma's ambition of a nuclear program simply due to its long brutal rule, offensive military campaign againse ethnic insurgents and recent development of its relations with N Korea. But, it does not seem that they desire nuclear weapons.
Malaysia,Vietnam, and the Phillipines (Thailand included?) all have nuclear ambitions - to be launched by sometime between 2012 and 2020 (date not exact) for the purpose of domestic supply needs. To be clear, all these countries are not a threat to international security. Instead, it'd be wise for the Burmese regime to use its energy assets for its people - 24 hr electricity distribution can be well enough for many people already.

Sai Lang Kham Wrote:
With regard to '2' below: Past experience suggests that the killing of fellow Burmese does not trouble Than Shwe and his fellow thugs in the least. Indeed, they have shown themselves very happy to kill monks.

Myanmar Patriot 4 UMPF Wrote:
1.Allegations are totally unfounded!
2.One must be absolutely stupid in believing in Burma's nuclear ambition because without the delivery system, it is useless; the nuclear weapon will kill only the Burmese. The junta is not that stupid.
3. Our king HM King Shwebomin II, who had done 'Nuclear Deterrant' as contemporary research for his MA in International Relations, said that even if Burma has the delivery system, the risk of 'low level burst' is so real; in any case it is MAD 'Mutually Assured Destruction'.
4. Is IRRAWADDY indirectly inviting US to invade Burma?
5. Burma's use of nuclear power to meet energy needs is perfectly legitimate, although it is dangerous because of the possibility of Chenobyl. We prefer harnessing solar power and development of industries to produce equipment to harness solar power. We can also make use of wind power. There are many other alternatives, much safer.

More Articles in This Section

bullet Making Sure Burma Doesn't Go Dutch

bullet Corruption Scandal in Burma: The Canadian Connection

bullet Helping Education to Keep Pace with Reform

bullet Resolving Ethnic Conflicts in Burma—Ceasefires to Sustainable Peace

bullet How the Game Was Lost

bullet Karens at the Crossroads

bullet Building Country Ownership in Burma

bullet Donors Rush Where Angels Feared to Tread

bullet Myanmar: On Claiming Success

bullet Ceasefires Won't Bring Peace

Thailand Hotels
Bangkok Hotels
China Hotels
India Hotels


Home |News |Regional |Business |Opinion |Multimedia |Special Feature |Interview |Magazine |Burmese Elections 2010 |Archives |Research
Copyright © 2008 Irrawaddy Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.