Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Leaked US memos highlight Myanmar nuclear fears
by Staff Writers
Bangkok (AFP) Dec 10, 2010

Washington has suspected for years that Myanmar has a secret nuclear programme supported by North Korea, with witnesses reporting suspicious activity as far back as 2004, leaked memos show.

One cable from the US embassy in Yangon, dated August of that year and released Thursday by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, quoted an unidentified source as saying he saw about 300 North Koreans working at an underground site.

"The North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, are constructing a concrete-reinforced underground facility that is '500ft from the top of the cave to the top of the hill above'," according to the cable.

"The North Koreans are said to be assembling missiles of unknown origin," it said, adding that the report alone should not been taken as definitive proof or evidence of sizeable North Korean military involvement with the Myanmar regime.

Another memo, also dated 2004, quoted a foreign businessman as saying that he had seen a reinforced steel bar, larger than for just a factory project, being unloaded from a barge in the same area in west-central Magway Division.

The cable said the source had volunteered to an US Embassy Officer that he had heard rumours that a nuclear reactor was being built near the town of Minbu.

It said that while there was no direct evidence of cooperation between Myanmar's generals and Pyongyang, there were increasing reports of alleged sightings of North Korean "technicians" inside the Southeast Asian nation.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned in July 2009 about possible nuclear links between Myanmar and North Korea, and earlier this year she said a ship from Pyongyang had delivered military equipment to Myanmar.

Myanmar's junta -- which recently held a widely criticised election seen as prolonging military rule -- has dismissed reports of its nuclear intentions and brushed aside Western concerns about possible cooperation with North Korea.

A UN report released last month alleged North Korea is supplying banned nuclear and ballistic equipment to Myanmar as well as Iran and Syria.

And a June documentary by the Norwegian-based news group Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) said Myanmar was trying to develop nuclear weapons, citing a senior army defector and years of "top secret material."

The DVB documentary gathered thousands of photos and defector testimony, some regarding Myanmar's network of secret underground bunkers and tunnels, which were allegedly built with the help of North Korean expertise.

Robert Kelley, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who inspected the files smuggled out of Myanmar by Sai Thein Win, said in October evidence indicated "a clandestine nuclear programme" was under way.

"This is not a well-developed programme. I don't think it's going very well," he said at the time.

"But if another country steps in and has all of the knowledge, the materials, and maybe the key to some of the things that are plaguing them, including bad management, this programme could really speed up."

Kelley said North Korea was "certainly the country I have in mind".

According to another cable from 2009, a well-placed source in the Myanmar government said General Thura Shwe Mann had visited North Korea in 2008.

But the source backtracked later insisting the talks were only exploratory.

The leaked memos also suggest that key backer China was fed up with the "foot-dragging" of Myanmar's military junta on reform and feared the ruling generals could no longer protect its interests in the country.

"The Chinese can no longer rely on the generals to protect their interests here, and recognise the need to broker some solution that keeps the peace," according to a US cable dated January 2008.


Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
Learn about missile defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Radioactive cobalt vanishes from Polish factory
Warsaw (AFP) Dec 8, 2010
Six lead containers of radioactive cobalt have vanished from a cast iron factory which has fallen into bankruptcy in Lublin, eastern Poland, Poland's National Atomic Energy Agency (PAA) said Wednesday. "The matter concerns seven containers of radioactive sources measuring 9 to 20 Megabecquerels (MBq). This cobalt can be dangerous to anyone opening a container, " Monika Skotniczna, a PAA offi ... read more

Robotic Excavations Could Help Get Helium 3 From Moon To Earth

A Softer Landing on the Moon

Neptec Wins Canadian Space Agency Contract To Develop A New Generation Of Lunar Rovers

Mission to far side of moon proposed

The Three Ages Of Mars

Odyssey Orbiter Nears Martian Longevity Record

Drilling For The Future Of Science

Opportunity Imaging Small Craters On Way To Endeavour

Discovery Of The Secrets That Enable Plants Near Chernobyl To Shrug Off Radiation

South Africa unveils space agency

NASA sells PCs still containing data

SwRI Researchers Continue Starfighters Suborbital Space Flight Training

China Builds Theme Park In Spaceport

Tiangong Space Station Plans Progessing

China-Made Satellite Keeps Remote Areas In Venezuela Connected

Optis Software To Optimize Chinese Satellite Design

ISS Tracks Months-Long Voyages Of Ships At Sea

Busy Day For ISS Commander

NASA Seeks Nonprofit To Manage ISS National Lab Research

Expedition 25 Returns Home

SpaceX Dragon Does Two Orbits Before Pacific Splashdown

NASA, SpaceX giddy over historic orbit launch

ISRO Hands Two Contracts To Arianespace

US company readies first space capsule launch

Astronomers Detect First Carbon-Rich Exoplanet

NASA's Spitzer Reveals First Carbon-Rich Planet

Astronomers Discover New Planet In Planetary System Very Similar To Our Own

Super-Earth Has An Atmosphere, But Is It Steamy Or Gassy

Taiwan to approve three billion dollar China plant: report

Tablet computers come of age in 2010 with iPad mania

World's First Microlaser Emitting In 3-D

Sony and Sharp launch e-readers, tablets in Japan

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement