N.Korea 'Helping Burma with WMD'

      June 25, 2009 13:11

      North Korea is helping Burma with the acquisition of so-called weapons of mass destruction, with the U.S. claiming that the North Korean ship Kangnam is headed for the Southeast Asian country.

      The Burmese junta "has bought technologies on the open market that are potentially usable in a nuclear program, and North Korean arms companies involved in the nuclear trade have become active" in Burma, the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday said quoting speculation by U.S., Asian and UN officials.

      "North Korea has used [Burmese] ports and airstrips to transfer arms and contraband to third countries, including Iran," the daily claimed.

      It said several Burmese citizens, some of them expatriates, "have claimed direct knowledge of a nuclear weapons program, including a reactor under construction near Maymyo."

      Quoting Yale University's Center for the Study of Globalization, the paper said relations between the two isolated dictatorships are getting closer to the point where North Korean technicians are working at the construction of underground tunnels connecting basement floors of buildings near the remote new Burmese capital of Naypyitaw.

      The daily admitted U.S. and UN officials "acknowledge there is no 'smoking gun' to back fears of nuclear proliferation inside the Southeast Asian country." But it added U.S. and Asian diplomats "draw strong similarities between the military governments in Pyongyang and Naypyitaw and their efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction as deterrents against U.S. power."

      It quotes Michael Green, a former senior official the U.S. National Security Council, as speculating that given "North Korea's nuclear trade to Syria, its attempts to sell Scuds to Myanmar, and its ongoing sales of conventional arms, there's reason to be worried about a WMD relationship."

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