VOA Burmese Blog

June 10, 2010

Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions

Filed under: Uncategorized — voaburmese @ 8:33 pm

– Kaye Lin

AP Photo: North Korean ship is docked at Burma's port, raising people's eye brows that Burma and North Korea may be collaborating on a nuclear program.

Burma has long been suspected of embarking on a nuclear program, and now Burma’s pursuit for nuclear power is exposed.

According to recent reports, Burma began a nuclear weapons program and has been collaborating with North Korea and Russia. A former major from the Burmese army, Sai Thein Win says the junta has been in talks with North Korea about the development of a nuclear bomb for quite some time now. Sai Thein Win says he was trained in missile technology in Russia and worked in two military factors there as well.

Sai Thein Win, Myanmar’s military defector, has told the Democratic Voice of Burma ( DVB) that the military regime’s goal is to build a bomb. Sai Thein Win is a missile expert whose job was to design prototype nuclear missiles.

Influence- North Korea

The Burmese generals began their pursuit to build the bomb as they were inspired by their ally, North Korea. Burma sees that North Korea has an advantage with its nuclear power; North Korea is a threat to the world and plays a major role in international politics. North Korea is also able to easily attack its counterpart- South Korea, and are able to retaliate when they feel threatened.

North Korea defies UN sanctions and is considered a nuclear power. North Korea’s ally, China, is a UN Security Council member, and North Korea has China’s support behind their nuclear pursuit. The Burmese military regime hopes to have the same impact that North Korea has in the world.

AP Photo: Robert Kelley on Burma's Nuclear Weapon Program

Is Burma a Threat?

Although Burma wants to build a nuclear weapon, analysts say Burma is still far from attaining nuclear weapons.

US Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who was scheduled to visit Burma last week, has cancelled his trip to the country stating that it would be unwise of him to visit the country as there was not enough evidence on the relationship between North Korea and Burma in terms of nuclear cooperation.

Robert Kelley, a retired UN nuclear expert says that although Burma has the components to build a nuclear weapons program , the regime is not a nuclear threat to the world…yet. In Kelley’s reports, he says that he believes Burma’s intention is clear- to build a nuclear bomb, but it does not have enough evidence to state how advance they are in their pursuit.

Kelley says that Sai Thein Win, the former defense engineer from Burma, is credible. He testifies on Win’s evidence stating that the photographs that Win had were much too massive in volume to be fake.  Therefore, Burma’s pursuit in attaining nuclear weapons is certain.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) supported President Obama’s statement in pursuing  international peace and a nuclear weapons free world. ASEAN and the US have agreed to work towards a vision of security by building a world without weapons of mass destruction. Robert Kelley urges the international community to keep a vigilant eye on Burma.

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