In fact, more dangerous than the long-shot allegation of a Burmese nuclear weapons program, is the cash they provided to North Korea through their illicit trade relationship. In the end, North Korea may have simply been milking the Burmese for funds for their own nuclear weapons program.
This is an excellent description of how the Kim Family Regime operates and why we should be paying close attention to all of north Korea's illicit trade activities.
As Air Force One touched down for the US’s first state visit to Myanmar, newly re-elected President Obama already had one victory in hand. Hours before his arrival, Burmese President Thein Sein announced that he had approved the adoption of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Additional Protocol, a measure which will likely also be approved in parliament. The move appeared extraordinary for two reasons. Just two years ago, Myanmar was alleged to be building a nuclear weapons program with the aid of North Korea, and Thein Sein was a member of the ruling military junta which brutally crushed opposition and thumbed its nose at the West.
The Additional Protocol grants the IAEA rights to expanded access to both information and sites. The goal is to increase confidence about declared, and possibly undeclared, nuclear activities. Thus, any “addition” to the Additional Protocol is a good one, but the victory in this case was hollow. Myanmar was about as close to a nuclear weapons program as Dr. (Bunsen) Honeydew and Beaker from The Muppet Show. In fact, more dangerous than the long-shot allegation of a Burmese nuclear weapons program, is the cash they provided to North Korea through their illicit trade relationship. In the end, North Korea may have simply been milking the Burmese for funds for their own nuclear weapons program.
Like most of the countries that bought into the “atoms for peace” agenda, Myanmar—then known as the Union of Burma—became attracted to the idea of a nuclear program in the 1950s and joined the IAEA in 1957. During its political and economic turmoil little progress was made toward this end, though it did reach out to Russia for a 10-15 megawatt research reactor to be used for radioisotope production. However, the deal fell through when the Russians realized that Burma’s safety culture was only slightly worse off than their total inability to pay.
The story of North Korea and Myanmar’s alleged procurement activities is a strange one. The two countries suspended their diplomatic relationship in 1983 after North Korea attempted to assassinate South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan during a visit to Burma’s then-capital city Rangoon (now known as Yangon) killing prominent South Korean and Burmese citizens. However, some dissidents claim that the two have acted as military procurement partners since the 1990s. Officially, diplomatic relations were re-established in 2007, and around this time North Korea and Myanmar developed what appeared to be a cozy military-to-military relationship.
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