Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Myanmar Sought Nuke Aid From North Korea, Lugar Asserts
A prominent U.S. senator said there is reason to believe Myanmar sought to work with North Korea in recent years to build nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reported on Thursday (see GSN Nov. 18).
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said information on the cooperation was provided to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee a half-decade ago. The panel delivered the data to the then-Bush administration but avoided addressing the matter openly, according to committee staffer Keith Luse.
Washington has long been concerned about potential covert atomic dealings between the two pariah states, though both North Korea and Myanmar maintain they have no such ties.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week is slated to become the first U.S. official of her stature to visit Myanmar in 50 years. President Obama announced Clinton's trip as a reward for small steps taken recently by the Southeast Asian state's new civilian government to address international concerns over human rights abuses.
"With the upcoming visit, Senator Lugar wanted to throw a spotlight on this [nuclear] issue and make sure it's on the table in our talks with the Burmese government," Luse said.
Burmese officials have said their nation lacks the resources to establish a nuclear weapons program. The United States in recent years, though, has blocked North Korean vessels believed to be transporting arms to Myanmar. Officials who have escaped the nation have accused the junta of illicitly conducting nuclear research.
"The sincerity with which a wide range of reforms has been promised by the Burmese government must be judged by whether the words are followed by actions," Lugar, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in prepared comments. "An early goal of the tentative U.S. re-engagement with Burma should be full disclosure of the extent and intent of the developing Burmese nuclear program" (William Wan, Washington Post, Nov. 24).
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A new brochure describes the origins and the work of the Nuclear Security Project.
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George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn laid out their vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the urgent, practical steps to get there in a groundbreaking series of co-authored Wall Street Journal op-eds.
This article provides an overview of Myanmar’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.