Myanmar Nuke : Fact or Rumor?
October 13, 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently voiced concern that Pyongyang was transfering weapons and nuclear technology to Myanmar.
According to Sydney Morning Herald, two defectors from Myanmar named Moe Jo and Tin Min made ´confessional statement´ saying, North Korea is helping Myanmar, formerly Burma, build a secret nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction plant to build an atomic bomb within five years.
The nuclear complex is hidden inside a mountain at Naung Laing, in Myanmar´s north, and runs parallel to a civil reactor being built at another site by Russia.
Moe Jo, a former Myanmar army officer, allegedly told he was trained for a 1,000-man “nuclear battalion” and that Myanmar had provided yellowcake uranium to North Korea and Iran.
“He said that the army planned a plutonium reprocessing system and that Russian experts were on site to show how it was done.”
Moe Jo said part of the army´s nuclear battalion was stationed in a local village to work on a weapon, and a secret operations centre was hidden in the Setkhaya Mountains.
“[It was] a set up including engineers, artillery and communications to act as a command and control centre for the nuclear weapons program.”
Tin Min was said to have been a book keeper for Tay Za, a close associate of the junta´s head General Than Shwe, and told in 2004 he had paid a construction company to build a tunnel in the Naung Laing mountain “wide enough for two trucks to pass each other”.
Tin Min said book keeper Tay Za negotiated nuclear contracts with Russia and North Korea and arranged the collection and transport, at night and by river, of containers of equipment from North Korean boats in Yangon´s port.
Tin Min reportedly said Tay Za told him the junta knew it couldn´t compete with neighbouring Thailand on conventional weapons, but wanted to “play power like North Korea”.
“They hope to combine nuclear and air defense missiles,” Tay Za said, according to Tin Min. Heretofor Russia has been a willing supplier with anyone who can pay their price.
While Sydney Morning Herald alleged Pyongyang for supplying nuclear weapons to Myanmar, in several reports published in international media, such allegation goes against Russia.
Michael Sullivan, an eminent analyst said, There is no doubt Myanmar has a nuclear program. It sent scientists, technicians and army officers to Russia for training in recent years. And Moscow has agreed to supply Myanmar with a small nuclear reactor for civilian use. None of this is disputed. The question is do the Burmese generals want a nuclear weapon too.
Another eminent writer Bertil Lintner, who has extensive knowledge on South Asian affairs said, It is quite clear, I think, that although the Burmese may not have a bomb or even a nuclear capability – no, not yet – they’re certainly interested in acquiring one.
Mr. Lintner has written extensively about Myanmar from his base in Thailand.
On 18 May 2007, Asia News Agency reported, Russia will provide Myanmar with it´s first nuclear reactor.
Quoting Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency [Rosatom], Asia News Agency said it had reached a deal with the military junta to build a nuclear research centre. The plant will have a light-water reactor with a capacity of 10MW. It will use 20 per cent-enriched nuclear fuel.
Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency insisted Myanmar had a right to peaceful nuclear technology – and said that there was “no way” it could use the reactor to develop nuclear missiles. It was further learnt that, the Nuclear Reactors would be set at Pwint Phyu, a small city in the centre of the country, in the region of Magwe.
Moscow claimed that construction of the Burmese nuclear power plant would take place under the strict supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA].
On August 3, 2009, Phil Thornton, an Australian journalist based on the Thai-Myanmar border said, Yangoon is building a secret nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facility with the assistance of Pyongyang and Yangoon is also joining hands with Moscow for further growth of this project.
Meanwhile, Myanmar´s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affair, U. Khin-Marng said the reactor would be used to train to produce radio isotope, which have a range of uses, including in medicine and agriculture science. He also pointed that the rector would be for peaceful purpose in the interest of the people of Myanmar´.
The present Junta in Yangoon strongly believes that , Myanmar´s interest in nuclear power is not a wrong purpose. David Albright, the head of the Washington based Institute for Science and International Security, which monitors nuclear proliferation, said, there´s no hard evidence, just suspicions right now. Although, Albright pointed out that visit to Myanmar by executive from the North Korean firm, Namchongang Trading Corporation, which is under the sanctions for its role in trading nuclear technology can be a pointer to the growing suspicion. On 30th June ,2009, According to Burmanet News, Japanese police arrested three top businessmen on suspicion of attempting to export to Burma a measuring instrument that could be used to develop long-range ballistic missile systems. Japan is also believed that North Korea was attempting to promote the transfer of missile technologies, such as its Taepodong system, to Myanmar. According to the police, the three conspired to export the magnetic measuring device to Burma via Malaysia around January 2009 at a price of about 7 million Japanese Yen [US $73,000].
Interestingly, Myanmar has become buffer state between four nuclear power states in Asia: China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. The military Junta has good tie with North Korea. On the other hand China and Pakistan who shares nuclear knowhow have also good relation with Myanmar. In a peculiar set up, New Delhi which abandoned support for Pro-democracy forces in 1993 and has embarked upon multifaceted relationship with the eastern neighbor. On the wake of Myanmar´s nuclear ambition seems to be both direct or indirect threat to the security of India.
The revelation of Myanmar´s link with Pakistan nuclear establishment also assumes significance in the recent purchase of nuclear reactor for research purposes. Pakistan also has been providing small conventional weapon and training to the myanmarises armed force, and has joined China in concluding an intelligence sharing agreement with Myanmar regarding India´s force deployments in the northeast and Bay-of-Bengal.
It is also learnt that considering Myanmar´s anti-US stand, terror patron nation Iran is also extending secret support to Yangoon in building its nuclear strength. Tehran is also using all our efforts as well its propaganda machinery as well as its own terrorist group named Hezbollah in spreading rumors in the world that Israel and India are extending millitary and nuclear assistance to Myanmar.
In response to my recent article titled ´Crisis in South Asia and rise of Islamist-leftist militancy´, a leader of Iranian Hezbollah based in Bangladesh in an email message said, “According to our sources, Burma is trying to build Nuclear Reactor with the help of North Korea.
“According to many source they [Myanmar] are serious to produce nuclear bomb.
“Myanmar is enjoying very good relation with India.
“Myanmar and Israel have very good relation. Isreal sold arms to Myanmar and giving training on Intelligence and agriculture sector.”
This particular email sent by the Iranian Hezbollah clearly proves that, Tehran is trying to mislead the world by spreading false information on Myanmar´s ongoing efforts in building Nuclear Bomb. Tehran is trying to put blame on both New Delhi and Jerusalem.
Such propaganda centering India and Israel was purposefully made by the members of Iranian terror outfit with the ulterior motive of instigating anti-Indian and anti-Israel sentiment in all Muslim nations, including Bangladesh.
Iran has been funding anti- Israel activities for decades. It even patronizes Islamist millitancy under the umbrella of ´Al-Quds Society´ in many Muslim nations. For years, Iranian terror outfit Hezbollah is continuing to spread wings in a number of Muslim nations while recruiting and traning Jihadists with anti-West brain-wash.