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Burma Rejects Military Ties With North Korea - 2003-11-15


A published report says there is increasing evidence of growing military trade between Burma and North Korea, including the sale of missiles and aid for a nuclear reactor.

The weekly news magazine "Far Eastern Economic Review" made the allegation in an article titled "Dangerous Bedfellows."

The Review says North Korea may be supplying or planning to supply Burma with new weapons, possibly in exchange for shipments of heroin. Burma is one of the world's largest producers of heroin.

The Hong Kong-based magazine also says U.S. and Asian officials believe Burma has begun negotiating the purchase of surface-to-surface missiles from North Korea.

Rangoon-based diplomats tell the Review that about 20 North Korean technicians are working at a naval base near the city, possibly to prepare to install the missiles on Burmese warships.

The Review goes on to say that diplomats and security analysts are worried that Pyongyang is helping Rangoon build a nuclear reactor in Burma's Myothit area.

The Burmese government has dismissed the report as "speculative."

Government spokesman Colonel Hla Min said in a faxed statement to the Review and the Associated Press that his country has no need to develop weapons of mass destruction while pursuing democracy.

He did not say whether Burma was negotiating with North Korea to buy missiles. North Korea has not commented on the report.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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