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N Korea, Russia, Iran, Myanmar Nukes and US Elections

October 5, 2008

So, how many current US news stories have informed you about the connection between N Korea and Myanmar/Burma exchange of nuclear technology?  As far back as 2002: US Warns Myanmar On Nuclear Reactor Aspirations

Myanmar activists staged a protest Tuesday outside the Russian Embassy in Malaysia, calling on Moscow to scrap plans to help build a nuclear research centre in the military-ruled country.

But, today the US economic meltdown, assisted by unrestrained spending on an obsession, credit disaster, and campaign personality wars distract us from the task of altering that path leading to the wall we just crashed in to. The rest of the globe is positioning itself for advantage on the world stage.  Respect is measured by how dangerous you ‘appear’ to be.  Making deals to acquire nuclear capability is a crucial step toward credibility.  Appearances are everything.  Dictators of poor countries want to be respected by the ‘big boys’ and counted among the worthy in the nuclear street gang.  Street gang mentality is ‘I have a gun, too’ …  Can you picture Myanmar with nuclear capability, beyond energy?  More attention should be directed to the pathway these capabilities are taking and more teeth are needed for the IAEA.

Nuclear bond for North Korea and Myanmar
By Norman Robespierre

YANGON – A recent flurry of high-level contacts between North Korea and Myanmar raises new nuclear proliferation concerns between the two pariah states, one of which already possesses nuclear-weapon capabilities and the other possibly aspiring.

At least three delegations led by flag-level officers from Myanmar’s army have traveled to Pyongyang in the past three months, hot on the heels of the two sides’ re-establishment last year of formal diplomatic relations. According to a source familiar with the travel itineraries of Myanmar officials, Brigadier General Aung Thein Lin visited North Korea in mid-September.

Before that, other Myanmar military delegations visited North Korea, including a group headed in August by Lieutenant General Tin Aye, chief of the Office of Chief Defense Industries, and another led in July by Lieutenant General Myint Hlaing, the chief of Air Defence.

The rapid-fire visits have gone beyond goodwill gestures and the normal diplomatic niceties of re-establishing ties. Rather, the personalities involved in the visits indicate that Myanmar is not only seeking weapons procurements, but also probable cooperation in establishing air defense weaponry, missiles, rockets or artillery production facilities.

The secretive visits are believed to entail a Myanmar quest for tunneling technology and possible assistance in developing its nascent nuclear program. Tin Aye and Myint Hlaing, by virtue of their positions as lieutenant generals, are logical choices to head official delegations in search of weapons technology for Myanmar’s military, while Brigadier General Aung Thein Lin, current mayor of Yangon and chairman of the city’s development committee, was formerly deputy minister of Industry-2, responsible for all industrial development in the country.

Constrained reaction
The United States’ reaction to Myanmar’s nuclear developments has been somewhat constrained, despite the George W Bush administration referring to the military-run country as an “outpost of tyranny”.

… common interests have brought the two secretive nations back together. The famine in North Korea in the late 1990s and Myanmar’s military expansion ambitions, including a drive for self-sufficiency in production, have fostered recent trade flows. While Myanmar has the agricultural surplus to ease North Korean hunger, Pyongyang possesses the weapons and technological know-how needed to boost Yangon’s military might. There is also speculation Myanmar might provide uranium, mined in remote and difficult-to-monitor areas, to North Korea.

As testament to Pyongyang’s willingness to supply weapons to the military regime, more North Korean ship visits have been noted at Thilawa port in Yangon, one of the country’s primary receipt points for military cargo.

… Myanmar has publicly stated it seeks nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes, such as developing radio-isotopes for agricultural use and medical research. Yet two well-placed sources told this reporter that North Korean and Iranian technicians were already advising Myanmar on a possible secret nuclear effort, running in parallel to the aboveboard Russia-supported program. Asia Times Online could not independently confirm the claim.

The regime is also known to be interested in North Korea’s tunneling technology (see Myanmar and North Korea share a tunnel vision, Asia Times Online, July 19, 2006) in line with the ruling junta’s siege mentality and apparent fears of a possible US-led pre-emptive military attack.

As the true nature of the budding bilateral relationship comes into closer view, the risk is rising that Pyongyang and Yangon are conspiring to create a security quandary in Southeast Asia akin to the one now vexing the US and its allies on the Korean Peninsula.

UN CONCERN

There has been widespread speculation, and some skepticism, among U.N. diplomats about whether a nation such as Iran which is subject to U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program should — or could — win a seat on the same council that approved the sanctions.

The council voted unanimously as recently as Saturday to approve a resolution pressing Iran to suspend its enrichment of uranium and comply with efforts to monitor its nuclear development program. The resolution contained no new sanctions, but reaffirmed existing ones.

On Myanmar, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who traveled to the southeast Asian nation in May, has expressed deep frustration at the failure of its military junta to agree to efforts aimed at reforming itself.

Ban has been trying to encourage Myanmar to take real steps to include opponents led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has been under house arrest since her party overwhelmingly won a general election in 1990 but was not allowed to take power by the military.

Ibrahim Gambari, a special envoy for Ban, visited Myanmar in August but failed to see Suu Kyi, who declined to meet with him. Gambari has met with Suu Kyi seven times before.

“All the members of the council support the mediation efforts,” Zhang said after the council finished meeting privately to set its monthly agenda.

He expressed hope that Myanmar “will continue its close communication” with Gambari to agree on a date for a visit.

Zhang was also asked about North Korea, which began disabling its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon under an aid-for-disarmament pact negotiated by six nations, but abruptly stopped in mid-August and has started to restore its disabled reactor.

North Korea cited Washington’s refusal to remove it from a terrorism blacklist. The U.S. maintains that the pact requires North Korea to submit to a thorough verification of its nuclear accounting — a demand rejected by the North.

Burma’s Nuke Take Away

Wrapped with

Mr Khan, Kim Jong II and Kremlin

Myanmar Gets a Russian Nuclear Reactor

Deal Vexes China’s Efforts To Expand Its Influence By Courting Yangon

On state sovereignty, disarmament matters, world leaders urge solidarity over selectivity, as Assembly continues general debate

India ruling party hails historic nuclear deal

US Envoy Briefs China on North Korea Nuclear Talks

This is not a new development.  Somehow this nuclear relationship has not been worthy of US Mainstream Media.  Myanmar has been newsworthy only because of it’s cyclone disaster, it’s President under house arrest, it’s Buddhist Monks slaughtered, its horrible junta.

Some blogs may have mentioned this concern, but right now, the focus is on the entertainment of US elections and personality bashing.

Enter another headache for the next US President.  If we just print more money and start a bonfire, we can forget the reason we are no longer Americans.  We are silent lambs who prefer to ignore where we are headed.  We can watch the pretty fire, roast marshmallows and ignore the noisemakers trying to put the fire out.

Small dictatorships pose bigger threats to world security than Russia, China, India and Pakistan. Israel and Iran are the most likely to pull the trigger first, using nukes as an excuse.

France urges Israel not to attack Iran

But NO, America is suffering from the consequences of a mis-directed administration.

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