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The Australian Weekend News

The Australian Weekend News

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Published by: Downtamun ေဒါင္းတမာန္ on Dec 12, 2010
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12/12/2010

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The Australian weekend newsBURMA is believed to be building a secret nuclear program with the help of North Korea, in a movethat could pose a major threat to regional stability.Classified US government documents released by WikiLeaks disclose a series of suspicious events inBurma since 2004 that indicate a clandestine joint military program with the maverick nuclear-armed North Korean regime.The documents reveal that the US embassy in Canberra was told in November last year "somethingis certainly happening" in relation to military and possibly nuclear co-operation between the twodictatorships.One cable refers to Australia's <span id="fullpost">ambassador to Burma, Michelle Chan, trying toverify the accuracy of a report she received that the regimes of Kim Jong-il and Than Shwe were"engaged in peaceful nuclear co-operation". Another cable said that a source in the Burmese militarygovernment had said General Shwe had visited North Korea in 2008. The disclosures have fuelled fears that North Korea is providing direct technical and physicalassistance to Burma's military regime to help it develop a nuclear weapons program that could alterthe balance of power in the region.They will intensify international condemnation of Pyongyang, which has been accused of sellingnuclear technology to Iran and this year torpedoed a South Korean warship, killing 46 sailors. Last month, it launched an artillery barrage on a South Korean island, killing four people.A spokesman for Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the government shared international concernsabout Burmese authorities taking steps towards the development of a nuclear weapons capability,and urged Rangoon to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
 
The US cables report the construction of suspicious underground military facilities alongside theconstruction of an unusually large airstrip, as well as suspected shipments of uranium from Burma toChina.A 2004 classified US cable reports: "North Korean workers are reportedly assembling surface-to-airmissiles and constructing an underground facility at a Burmese military site about 315 miles (500km)north-northwest of Rangoon. Some 300 North Koreans are working on (the) secret construction site. "The North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, are constructing a concrete-reinforced undergroundfacility that is 500 foot (152m) from the top of the cave to the top of the hill above."Buildings for 20 Burmese army battalions were being built next to the secret site. The US said thereport of these facilities could not be confirmed beyond doubt, but it "generally tracks with otherinformation" the US embassy in Rangoon and others had reported "in various channels". For years, the West has been suspicious about the nature of North Korea's military links with therepressive regime in Burma and the role played by China, an ally of both. Burma recently heldelections that reinforced the power of the military junta but were widely discredited as rigged.In 2006, The Australian broke the news that Burma's military junta had attempted to buy nuclearweapons technology from North Korea.In July this year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "We continue to be concerned by thereports that Burma may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a nuclear program."Burma has repeatedly denied it is involved in a nuclear program with North Korea.A 2004 US cable reports that unusually large shipments of reinforced steel were observed beingshipped in barges to the area of the suspected underground facility.The cable noted that there was a new airport built near Minbu with a landing strip that, based on itslength and thickness, seemed "excessive".

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