Burma and North Korea: Conventional allies or nuclear partners?
During the third quarter of 2009, there was a spate of reports in the news media and on the Internet accusing Burma and North Korea of engaging in a range of activities that potentially threatened regional security. It was claimed that the Naypyidaw regime had developed a close relationship with Pyongyang that included North Korea's sale to Burma of conventional weapons, assistance in the development of Burma's defence infrastructure and arms industries, and even collaboration on a nuclear weapons program. Given the lack of hard evidence, however, these reports raised more questions than they answered. Burma's nuclear status remains unknown. Another puzzle is why no government or international organisation has yet made an official statement on this particular issue, despite all the publicity it has attracted. Should it be determined that Burma does indeed have a secret nuclear weapons program, then a key question would be whether the generals are likely to be any more receptive to international concerns than they have been in the past, on other issues.
Australian Journal of International Affairs