October 23, 2012 12:44
Burma is willing to sever its military ties with North Korea, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davies said Monday.
Reuters reported that Davies, who is visiting Beijing, told reporters, "I think that Burma's on the right path, that they have made a strategic decision to fundamentally alter their relationship with [North Korea] and to ultimately end these relationships with North Korea."
But he added it is "a work in process. It was a long relationship that the two countries had, and so it does take some time to work through it."
Thein Sein, who became the country's first quasi-democratically elected president in March last year, has introduced a dizzying array of reforms in Burma, releasing a number of political prisoners, and is tying to improve diplomatic relations with the West.
After President Lee Myung-bak's visit to Burma in May, Rangoon reportedly pledged to halt its weapons trade with North Korea. Thein Sein also told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she visited Burma in December last year that his government will follow the UN resolution that bans arms dealings with the North.
Since Clinton's visit last year, the U.S. has repeatedly asked Burma to end its relations with North Korea.
After the Rangoon bombing in 1983 by North Korean agents targeting then-South Korean president Chun Doo-hwan, Burma cut official diplomatic ties with North Korea, but it restored them in 2007. But it is widely known that the North sold missile technology and arms to Burma even before 2007.
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