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Playing Politics: How the Regional Context Impedes Confronting Myanmar's Alleged Nuclear Program

Sharad Joshi

Fellow, Monterey Institute of International Studies

Vice-chairman of the SPDC Maung Aye meets Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing in June 2009. Vice-chairman of the SPDC Maung Aye meets Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing in June 2009.
Source: Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Myanmar's alleged nuclear and missile programs are increasingly on the agenda of concerned international policymakers and analysts. A lack of comprehensive, unbiased information in the open source domain precludes a conclusive judgment on the intentions of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as Myanmar's military regime is officially termed. Meanwhile, Myanmar's reported acquisition of dual-use equipment and its military links with North Korea, including interactions on ballistic missile development, provide serious cause for concern about its proliferation intentions.

While other publications have examined Myanmar's WMD intentions and capabilities, a broader context is required to understand available policy options. International actors' competing interests in Myanmar continue to impede consensus on how the international community should address this challenge. This issue brief will examine the key facts and speculation concerning Myanmar's nuclear capabilities and intentions, analyze regional and global responses to date, and assess challenges for the international community moving forward.

Growing Suspicion of Illicit Activities

Since 1960, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), has been ruled by a military junta. The junta has brutally suppressed all democratic opposition, including by detaining pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from 1988 to November 2010. [2] Just prior to Suu Kyi's release, the regime conducted a general election, a deeply flawed process that was widely criticized by the international community. For most of its independent history, Myanmar has also been wracked by ethnic insurgencies in several parts of the country. Myanmar has been a non-nuclear weapon state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since 1992. Since 1996, Myanmar has also been part of the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone. Additionally, it concluded a Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) with the IAEA in 1995, which states that Myanmar does not have any nuclear installations and possesses only very limited quantities of nuclear materials. [3]

Myanmar's location between two major powers, India and China, complicates regional and international responses to the military regime's policies, as both countries are competing for regional influence. The United States and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) also have a crucial say in policies towards Myanmar. Unfortunately, consensus among these actors has been rare, even as evidence has begun to accumulate that Myanmar may be undertaking illicit nuclear and missile-related activities.

Information and analysis provided by the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a Burmese opposition group based in Thailand, precipitated the most recent debate in the international community regarding the nature and scope of Myanmar's nuclear program. The DVB's most prominent report came out in summer 2010, and was based on analysis of documents and photos smuggled out of the country by a Myanmar army officer who suggested that the military junta was pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Former United Nations (UN) weapons inspector Robert E. Kelley provided analysis for the DVB report, which stated that the SPDC is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability and that this intention is conclusive. [4] The defecting officer, Major Sai Thein Win, reportedly provided several pieces of evidence to corroborate this allegation. This evidence included drawings of equipment, such as a bomb-reduction vessel, [5] as well as an official government document authorizing the construction of this equipment. [6] Thein Win also alleged that Myanmar is pursuing uranium mining activities and has constructed a factory tasked with building prototypes for components of nuclear weapons. Other equipment required for manufacturing uranium metal, including a vacuum glove stove, also reportedly appears in the photographs provided by the defecting officer.

The DVB report quoted the defector as claiming that hundreds of Myanmar nationals were receiving nuclear technology training. Earlier news reports from 2007 had also alleged that up to 1,000 students from Myanmar were studying nuclear-related subjects in Russia. [7] The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed these reports, saying that the students' training had nothing to do with nuclear matters. [8] It is worth noting that given the dismal state of higher education in Myanmar, [9] students in a position to do so would almost certainly choose to study abroad regardless of their areas of interest.

While the DVB's 2010 report reinforced international concerns, this is not the first time in recent years that Myanmar's alleged nuclear program has made headlines. Between 2007 and 2009, Australian academic Desmond Ball interviewed two defectors from Myanmar, an army officer and an influential civilian, who spoke of two reactors being constructed with Russian and North Korean assistance, as well as uranium mining in several locations. [10] Reports in previous years had also mentioned that Russia had agreed to supply Myanmar with a 10MW research reactor. [11] But there is no evidence that construction has begun on such a reactor. [12] In 2005, the DVB quoted sources in Myanmar as saying that the regime had resumed construction of a military complex in Mandalay Division (central Myanmar), which was meant to become the base for a "nuclear regiment." [13] According to the same report, the project had begun in 2000 with North Korean assistance but was temporarily halted after the dismissal of some senior SPDC officials. [14]

Of particular proliferation concern to the international community is the wealth of reports alleging illicit military cooperation between Myanmar and North Korea. While many of the details of the relationship remain speculative, there is a high degree of certainty that the North Korea-Myanmar military relationship has expanded since the two countries re-established diplomatic relations in 2007. [15] Several instances in recent years have demonstrated this link. In June 2008, the U.S. Navy monitored a North Korean vessel heading for Myanmar which was suspected of carrying illicit weapons. Subsequently, the ship turned back to North Korea without delivering its cargo. In July 2009, the U.S. Navy tracked another North Korean vessel, the Kang Nam I, until it turned around and returned to its home country without delivering its cargo. The ship had made trips to Myanmar in the past, and U.S. intelligence believed that it was headed there in this instance as well. [16] According to South Korean intelligence sources, that cargo included components for a nuclear program and Scud short-range ballistic missiles. [17] A May 2010 United Nations report stated that Pyongyang is supplying nuclear and missile-related technology to Myanmar, Iran and Syria. [18] Then, according to the June 2010 DVB report, the North Korean ship Chong Gen delivered a cargo to Myanmar in April 2010 which reportedly included a radar system. [19]

So far, the regime in Myanmar has not been forthcoming on the exact nature of its partnership with North Korea, treating the issue with extreme secrecy. Two officials in Myanmar were sentenced to death in January 2010 for allegedly leaking information on a secret trip by senior regime officials, including the third-ranking leader in the regime Gen Shwe Mann, to North Korea. The leaked details included photographs of visits to a Scud missile factory and other North Korean military sites. [20] The convicted officials were also accused of leaking photographs of a network of tunnels Myanmar constructed with North Korean assistance near the new capital, Naypyidaw. [21] The North Korean connection seems to be associated more with missile technology exports than the nuclear sector. However, there are also reported links between Myanmar and a North Korean company, Namchongang Trading Corporation, which has been sanctioned by the United Nations and the United States for illicit nuclear technology transfers. [22] It is also possible that North Korea is using Myanmar as a trans-shipment point for supply of illicit equipment to other entities, as discussed in a recent report. [23] In August 2008, Washington and New Delhi collaborated to prevent a North Korean Air Koryo plane from leaving Myanmar for Iran, on suspicions that it was carrying missile components (the plane eventually returned to Pyongyang). [24] Given North Korea's advanced WMD programs, any amount of cooperation between the DPRK and Myanmar is extremely troubling from a proliferation perspective.

While the evidence presented so far indicates Myanmar may be interested in pursuing nuclear weapons, it is also highly ambiguous about the regime's accomplishments in the nuclear realm. The available evidence suggests that the SPDC will not be capable of constructing a nuclear device anytime soon, as Myanmar is not known to possess fissile materials or facilities capable of producing them. Although the DVB report insisted the regime intends to produce nuclear weapons, it also concluded that the military junta is not yet capable of doing so. [25] Furthermore, according to Robert Kelley, Myanmar's equipment is sub-standard, and it is unlikely along with the "poor" mechanical drawings it possesses that the regime would succeed in developing a nuclear weapons capability. [26] Moreover, the country's technical training base is too weak to support a nuclear weapons research program. Kelley's report further concluded that Myanmar simply does not have the technical expertise to put together an effective laser isotope separation program. [27] Similarly, allegations of a gas centrifuge program remain unsupported by concrete evidence. Experimental laser isotope separation efforts, however unsuccessful they might have been, do nonetheless raise questions about the regime's intentions. [28] Kelley's report also discusses the existence of a nuclear battalion tasked with nuclear weapons-related research and logistical activities. While Myanmar does possess such a battalion, [29] it is unclear what its official responsibilities are.

The Myanmar Regime's Motivations

Despite DVB and other reports claiming the regime is pursuing nuclear weapons, Myanmar's officials have denied any interest in a nuclear program. Unsurprisingly, the military regime in Myanmar has refuted the defectors' allegations (mentioned in the DVB report), terming them "politically motivated," and has stated that the country had "no intention to possess nuclear weapons as a military power." [30] In a June 2010 communication to the IAEA, Myanmar's permanent representative to the Agency said that, "no activity related to uranium conversion, enrichment, reactor construction or operation has been carried out in the past, is ongoing or is planned for the future in Myanmar." [31] At the same time the regime has steadily added to its conventional military capabilities. These include for example, deals for the acquisition of MiG-29 aircraft from Russia, surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles, tanks, and artillery systems, from suppliers including China, India, Israel, and Singapore. [32]

So why is the Myanmar regime looking to ratchet up its military capabilities, whether through exploration of the nuclear option, or as is more likely, the augmenting of its ballistic missile capabilities? [33] At this point, there is little clarity regarding the Myanmar military junta's motivations. As Myanmar expert Andrew Selth has asserted, due to a lack of reliable information, it is extremely difficult to assess the extent and direction of Myanmar's conventional military capabilities. [34] Accessing credible intelligence on nuclear matters is even more difficult.

However, a few possible motivations are worth considering. The military junta may see increased military capabilities as vital to regime survival in the face of pressure from the international community to roll back the military regime and permit free and fair elections. These pressures might have abated to a degree following the November 2010 general election and the subsequent release a few days later of Aun San Suu Kyi. But neither the election nor Suu Kyi's release resulted in any long-term changes to the international community's attitude toward the regime, given that the elections were deeply flawed and have not affected the military regime's powers.

Myanmar's security threat perceptions derive from both external and internal sources. The two main regional powers, India and China, which also share long borders with Myanmar, are not regarded by the regime as threats. Instead extra-regional powers, namely the United States and the United Kingdom, are perceived by the regime as the primary external threats. [35] Increased pressure from the West is perceived by the military regime to be a precursor to possible foreign military intervention and forcible regime change. [36] Thus, Myanmar's alleged interest in nuclear weapons and its military alliance with North Korea could be rooted in the pursuit of enhanced deterrence. In pursuing deterrence, the regime might disregard other consequences of an illicit nuclear weapons program, such as increased international coercion to desist from such plans and to open up facilities to IAEA inspections. In a related development, Wikileaks released a document in December 2010 that it attributed as a 2004 U.S. diplomatic cable, which quoted a senior Indian diplomat as saying in 2004 that members of a visiting Myanmar military delegation had remarked that they would have to pursue a nuclear weapons capability in order to get Washington's attention. [37] Given the military leadership's decades-long relative isolation from international diplomatic discourse, this could partly be a case of misreading signals from the international community. As some analysts have contended, the SPDC could also have viewed the 2003 Iraq invasion and the differing treatment of North Korea by the United States as evidence that a rudimentary nuclear capability (or even a military alliance with Pyongyang) would be sufficient to deter a military attack or even render coercive diplomacy useless. [38]

Another objective behind the regime's enhancement of its conventional military capabilities could be dealing with internal threats. Short-range ballistic missiles with conventional payloads could strengthen the military junta's deterrence and offensive capabilities against various insurgent groups. Some of the illicit equipment that the regime has acquired, according to the DVB report, would be in line with such a strategy. [39] A diplomatic cable dating to 2004, released by Wikileaks and attributed to the U.S. government, also talks of about 300 North Korean nationals involved in the construction of missile facilities within mountains in west-central Myanmar. [40] The DVB released another analysis in June 2010 which identified the construction of a radar and missile base in northern Myanmar's Kachin state, including the installation of North Korean-supplied 122mm Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. [41] As many as four radar bases have reportedly become functional in the country, according to the DVB report, including two in Shan state. Considering that the regime has battled various ethnic insurgent and rebel groups for several decades in those areas, it is entirely possible that the radar and missile bases are an attempt to ramp up the military's capabilities against ethnic insurgent groups rather than perceived external threats. Ultimately, while Myanmar is known to be expanding its military capabilities, it is uncertain how exactly these capabilities are being strengthened and against whom they are directed.

Uneven Global Responses

Responses from influential regional and global actors to Myanmar's alleged nuclear and missile activities have been mixed and constrained by broader geopolitical factors. Although the United States, China and India have expressed concerns over Myanmar's nuclear and missile intentions and growing relationship with North Korea, there has been no combined effort to increase pressure on the military regime.

Since Myanmar has refused to conclude an Additional Protocol (AP) to its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Agency only has the authority to monitor declared nuclear facilities in Myanmar, effectively preventing it from investigating alleged illicit nuclear activities. Moreover, Myanmar's Small Quantities Protocol (SQP) with the Agency states that it does not possess facilities or materials on a scale requiring monitoring. While Myanmar's accumulation of nuclear materials beyond the limits of the SQP would incur a reporting requirement, the Agency is dependent on honest state declarations in making such assessments. [42] However, the IAEA has advised Myanmar not to pursue expanded capabilities, such as the plan to acquire a nuclear research reactor from Russia. [43] According to the IAEA, since Myanmar does not have the infrastructure to deal with nuclear research, the safety and security risks of moving forward with major nuclear projects are prohibitive. [44] In December 2010, the IAEA asked Myanmar to permit inspectors to visit the locations suspected of hosting illicit nuclear activities, but so far the SPDC has not responded positively to this request. [45] Subsequently, in January 2011, the Agency wrote to the regime asking for information on its nuclear activities. [46] The former head of IAEA safeguards, Olli Heinonen, has said that he does not think that Myanmar was going ahead with a nuclear program, but that the regime should allow the IAEA to visit the sites in question in order to clarify the issue. [47] The international community could significantly increase oversight of Myanmar's nuclear activities were it able to convince Myanmar to conclude an Additional Protocol with the IAEA, but it has not proven easy to convince the regime to cooperate with this plan, particularly absent strong pressure from regional powers to do so. [48]

Both India and China have stakes in Myanmar that go beyond matters related to suspected nuclear proliferation. New Delhi's priorities are to ensure a cooperative relationship with the SPDC in combating insurgent groups operating in northeastern India bordering Myanmar, and to stem the perceived expansion of Chinese influence in Myanmar. [49] Therefore, Indian policymakers believe that pressuring Myanmar on democracy, human rights, proliferation, or any other issue might be counterproductive and push the military junta further towards China. These factors, rooted in realpolitik, have decreased Indian pressure on the military regime to take meaningful steps towards democracy.

Given India's cordial ties with the SPDC, Washington has favored leveraging New Delhi's influence to pressure Myanmar on several issues of concern, including nuclear proliferation. [50] But both India and the United States are also concerned that pressuring the regime could persuade it to align more closely with China. The Indian government's position is that it believes the Myanmar regime's official line that it does not have a nuclear program, but New Delhi also sees the need to monitor the situation and collect more information on this matter. [51]

Washington has not yet exerted much direct pressure on Myanmar on the issue of illicit equipment transfers. In July 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did express concern about possible nuclear collaboration between North Korea and Myanmar. Subsequently, the Obama administration announced its support for a UN commission to investigate crimes against humanity by the Myanmar regime, and also considered stricter financial sanctions against the regime's military leaders. [52] But these U.S. policies were directed against the regime's authoritarian policies and human rights violations, rather than its lack of responsiveness on questions regarding its nuclear and missile programs and its relationship with Pyongyang. Nevertheless, sanctions provoked by human rights-related issues could also indirectly hamper the regime's ability to carry out transfers of arms and dual-use items. [53]

China's policy response also places Myanmar's alleged nuclear program in a broader context, taking into account Southeast Asian power dynamics and broader Chinese strategic interests. Beijing has extensive and growing economic interests in Myanmar in sectors that include oil, gas, mines, and construction, and is also seeking a passage to the Indian Ocean through the country. [54] Specifically, China also sees the Myanmar issue in the context of great-power dynamics vis-à-vis the United States. One senior Chinese arms control official contrasted the U.S. approach to Myanmar's alleged pursuit of a nuclear program to the recent initiative on U.S.-Vietnam nuclear collaboration, saying that in the Vietnam case, "what matters is the enrichment of spent fuel. Yet, if another ASEAN country, Myanmar, does the same, there would be accusations and pressure. This is called double standards." [55] Clearly, the issue is mired in regional and global geopolitics, making a concerted effort very difficult.

Just as the above-mentioned states disagree on policy approaches to Myanmar, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) lacks consensus among its membership on how to deal with Myanmar's nuclear activities and its military alliance with North Korea. So far, ASEAN has not backed a unified policy on this matter. [56] A key member, Thailand, has rejected claims that Myanmar is pursuing a nuclear program, citing the SPDC's desire for a nuclear-free ASEAN region. [57] More recently, in January 2011, ASEAN recommended lifting all sanctions against Myanmar, without any reciprocal steps by the regime on the nuclear issue. [58] Under the current circumstances, it is therefore unlikely that ASEAN would pressure Myanmar to disclose more about its suspect nuclear activities, including its military ties with North Korea.

Conclusion

Although recent reports by the DVB and other entities conclude that the available evidence indicates that Myanmar does not have the capability to develop nuclear weapons in the near-term, the regime's intentions merit further scrutiny. Perhaps more than its nuclear activities, Myanmar's missile program and its military links with North Korea are cause for significant proliferation concern. The equivocal positions of important regional powers, such as China and India, do not necessarily imply that they would countenance Myanmar continuing a nuclear program and/or acquiring longer-range ballistic missiles. However, their more immediate positions on Myanmar are rooted in other foreign and security policy priorities, which prevent them from taking a more forceful stance. In the meantime, official silence from Myanmar and its refusal to credibly disclose more information on its intentions and capabilities perpetuates the stalemate.

Sources:

[1] The author thanks Stephanie Lieggi, Robert Shaw, and Jessica Varnum of CNS for their comments on drafts of this issue brief.
[2] For more, see David Scott Mathieson, "Happy Birthday to Burma's Military," Foreign Policy, 7 April 2010.
[3] Robert E. Kelley and Ali Fowler, "Nuclear Related Activities in Myanmar," Democratic Voice of Myanmar, May 2010, www.dvb.no.
[4] Joby Warrick, "Report Says Myanmar is Taking Steps Toward Nuclear Weapons Program," The Washington Post, 4 June 2010, www.washingtonpost.com.
[5] As the DVB/Robert E. Kelley report specifies, the term "bomb reactor" which is the same as a "bomb reduction vessel," is not a nuclear device/bomb or reactor, but is in fact a very robust vessel to "contain a violent chemical reaction." See Robert E. Kelley and Ali Fowler, "Nuclear Related Activities in Myanmar," Democratic Voice of Myanmar, May 2010, www.dvb.no.
[6] Joby Warrick, "Report Says Myanmar is Taking Steps Toward Nuclear Weapons Program," The Washington Post, 4 June 2010, www.washingtonpost.com.
[7] Larry Jagan, "Myanmar drops a nuclear 'bombshell'," Asia Times, 24 May 2007.
[8] "Russia denies Helping Myanmar Obtain Nuclear Know-How," RIA News Agency, Moscow, BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union — Political, Lexis-Nexis, 11 April 2005.
[9] Mark Hibbs, "IAEA Probes Myanmar Data, Discourages New Research Reactors," Nuclear Fuel, 10 August 2009.
[10] Desmond Ball and Phil Thornton, "Burma's nuclear bomb is alive and kicking," The Bangkok Post, 2 August 2009, www.bangkokpost.com; Desmond Ball, "Burma's Nuclear Programs: The Defectors' Story," Security Challenges, Vol. 5, No. 4, Summer 2009, pp. 119-131.
[11] Desmond Ball, "Burma's Nuclear Programs: The Defectors' Story," Security Challenges, Vol. 5, No. 4, Summer 2009, p. 119.
[12] Mark Hibbs, "IAEA Probes Myanmar Data, Discourages New Research Reactors," NuclearFuel, 10 August 2009.
[13] "Myanmar Said Resuming Work on Nuclear Complex," Text of report from website of Democratic Voice of Myanmar, BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific — Political, Lexis-Nexis, 1 October 2005.
[14] "Burma Said Resuming Work on Nuclear Complex," Text of report from website of Democratic Voice of Myanmar, BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific — Political, Lexis-Nexis, 1 October 2005.
[15] See also David Albright, Paul Brannan, Robert Kelley and Andrea Scheel, "The North Korea-Myanmar Relationship: A Technical Perspective," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 2010; Mun Suk Ahn, "The North Korea-Myanmar Relationship: A Historical Perspective," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 2010.
[16] Peter Grier, "Obama sees positive step in the shadowing of the Kang Nam," The Christian Science Monitor, 7 July 2009, www.csmonitor.com.
[17] Julian Borger, "Myanmar Suspected of Forming Nuclear Link With North Korea," The Guardian, 21 July 2009, www.guardian.co.uk.
[18] Justin McCurry, "North Korea 'Is Exporting Nuclear Technology'," The Guardian, 28 May 2010, www.guardian.co.uk.
[19] Justin McCurry, "North Korea 'Is Exporting Nuclear Technology'," The Guardian, 28 May 2010, www.guardian.co.uk.
[20] Thomas Fuller, "Myanmar is Reported to Sentence 2 to Death," The New York Times, 9 January 2010.
[21] Richard Lloyd Parry, "Myanmar to Execute Two Over Secret Tunnels Leak," The Times, 8 January 2010.
[22] Julian Borger, "Myanmar Suspected of Forming Nuclear Link With North Korea," The Guardian, 21 July 2009, www.guardian.co.uk.
[23] Catherine Boye, Melissa Hanham, and Robert Shaw, "North Korea and Myanmar: A Match for Nuclear Proliferation?," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 September 2010, www.thebulletin.org.
[24] Jay Solomon, "Tests Point to Spread of Weapons Trade," The Wall Street Journal, 28 May 2009, http://online.wsj.com.
[25] "Myanmar 'Trying to Build Nuclear Weapon'," BBC News, 4 June 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk.
[26] "Myanmar 'Trying to Build Nuclear Weapon'," BBC News, 4 June 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk.
[27] Robert E. Kelley and Ali Fowler, "Nuclear Related Activities in Myanmar," Democratic Voice of Myanmar, May 2010, www.dvb.no.
[28] "Secrets Will Out; Myanmar's Nuclear Ambitions," The Economist, 10 June 2010.
[29] Desmond Ball and Phil Thornton, "Burma's nuclear bomb is alive and kicking," The Bangkok Post, 2 August 2009, www.bangkokpost.com.
[30] "Myanmar Denies Nuclear Weapons Programme," BBC News, 11 June 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk.
[31] Peter Crail, "Report Alleges Secret Myanmar Nuclear Work," Arms Control Today, July/August 2010.
[32] "Burma to buy Russian MiG planes," BBC News, 23 December 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk; Grant Peck, "Despite rights record, Myanmar easily finds foreign arms suppliers," The China Post, 14 October 2007, www.chinaponknowns: Measuring Myanmar's Military Capabilities," Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2009), pp. 272-95.st.com.
[33] For a discussion of Myanmar's missile program, see Catherine Boye, Melissa Hanham, and Robert Shaw, "North Korea and Myanmar: A Match for Nuclear Proliferation?," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 September 2010, www.thebulletin.org.
[34] Andrew Selth, "Known Knowns and Known Unknowns: Measuring Myanmar's Military Capabilities," Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 31, No. 2 (2009), pp. 272-95.
[35] Andrew Selth, "Burma and Nuclear Proliferation: Policies and Perceptions," Griffith Asia Institute, Regional Outlook Paper No. 7, 2007, www.griffith.edu.au.
[36] Andrew Selth, "Burma and Nuclear Proliferation: Policies and Perceptions," Griffith Asia Institute, Regional Outlook Paper No. 7, 2007, www.griffith.edu.au.
[37] "Myanmar officials talked of 'going nuclear': U.S. cable," Yahoo News Canada, 17 December 2010, http://ca.news.yahoo.com.
[38] Andrew Selth, "Burma and Nuclear Proliferation: Policies and Perceptions," Griffith Asia Institute, Regional Outlook Paper No. 7, 2007, www.griffith.edu.au, p. 16.
[39] Catherine Boye, Melissa Hanham, and Robert Shaw, "North Korea and Myanmar: A Match for Nuclear Proliferation?," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27 September 2010 www.thebulletin.org.
[40] Ewen MacAskill, "Wikileaks cables suggest Burma is building secret nuclear facilities," The Guardian, 9 December 2010.
[41] "N Korea Missiles at Myanmar Base," Democratic Voice of Myanmar, 24 June 2010, www.dvb.no.
[42] Robert Kelley, "Expert says Burma 'planning nuclear bomb'," Democratic Voice of Burma, 3 June 2010, www.dvb.no; David Albright, Paul Brannan, Robert Kelley, and Andrea Scheel Stricker, "Burma: a Nuclear Wannabe, Suspicious Links to North Korea and High-Tech Procurements to Enigmatic Facilities," Institute for Science and International Security, 28 January 2010; http://isis-online.org.
[43] Robert E. Kelley and Ali Fowler, "Nuclear Related Activities in Myanmar," Democratic Voice of Myanmar, May 2010, www.dvb.no; Mark Hibbs, "IAEA Probes Myanmar Data, Discourages New Research Reactors," NuclearFuel, 10 August 2009.
[44] Mark Hibbs, "IAEA Probes Myanmar Data, Discourages New Research Reactors," NuclearFuel, 10 August 2009.
[45] Jay Solomon, "Myanmar's Links With Pyongyang Stir Nuclear Fears," The Wall Street Journal, 17 December 2010.
[46] Fredrik Dahl, "UN atom watchdog seeks facts from Myanmar—sources," Reuters Africa, 14 January 2011, http://af.reuters.com.
[47] "Former IAEA official sees no signs of Myanmar nuke aspirations," Global Security Newswire, 22 November 2010.
[48] "No U.S. Confirmation of Myanmar Nuclear Report," Global Security Newswire, 10 August 2009, www.globalsecuritynewswire.org.
[49] Siddharth Varadarajan, "Facing up to the Myanmar challenge," The Hindu, 27 July 2010; Elizabeth Roche, "Myanmar pact to help India contain North-East militancy," LiveMint.com, 1 August 2010.
[50] Narayan Lakshman, "India Should Tell Myanmar to Change Course: U.S.," The Hindu, 25 July 2010.
[51] "India says Myanmar has no nukes," The Times of India, 26 August 2010.
[52] John Pomfret, "U.S. supports creation of U.N. commission of inquiry into war crimes in Burma," The Washington Post, 18 August 2010.
[53] Thanks to Robert Shaw for highlighting this point.
[54] Barbara Demick and Mark Magnier, "Rights activists criticize China for hosting Myanmar leader," The Los Angeles Times, 8 September 2010.
[55] Ananth Krishnan, "China Hits Out at U.S. 'Double Standards'," The Hindu, 9 August 2010.
[56] "Deutsche Presse-Agentur: ASEAN leaders unsure about Myanmar's nuclear ambitions," BurmaNet News, 20 July 2010, www.burmanet.org.
[57] "Thailand PM Insists Myanmar Has No Nuke Program," Global Security Newswire, 13 December 2010.
[58] "ASEAN says Burma sanctions should be dropped," BBC News, 16 January 2011, www.bbc.co.uk.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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Sharad Joshi explores the motivations for, and the regional and international reaction to, alleged secret nuclear and missile related activities in Myanmar.

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