The Obama Administration’s policy review includes reference to the growing North Korea-Burma relationship.Senator Lugar is not listed as a member of the subcommittee that met, so the question of Burma's nuclear ambitions would appear to be of real concern to him. Interestingly, not a single Republican who is actually a member of the subcommittee bothered to attend the hearing on Burma. The hearing coincided with the announcement of a major change in US policy towards the regime.
The United States has a responsibility to our friends and allies throughout Asia to oppose actively the possible proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to or from Burma.
Since I first discussed the troubling prospects of renewed ties between these two countries in 2004, the Foreign Relations Committee has repeatedly raised the issue of Burma’s growing relationship with North Korea with a wide array of U.S. Administration officials.
For example, we have questioned the basis for hundreds of Burmese officials going to Russia for technical education which included nuclear technology training. The number of persons travelling to Russia for specialized training seemed to be far beyond the number needed for the eventual operation of a nuclear reactor for medical research purposes, intended to be built by the junta with Russian government assistance.
Burma’s multiple uranium deposits, reports of uranium refining and processing plants, and it’s active nuclear program reportedly assisted by North Korea collectively point to reason for concern in a country whose officials resist transparency.
Dr. Sigfried Hecker, Director Emeritus of Los Alamos National Laboratory and now Co-Director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University recently wrote, "The A.Q. Khan network connected companies, individuals and front organizations into a dangerous proliferation ring. The revelations of the North Korean reactor in Syria, along with developments in Iran and Burma, appear to point toward a different type of proliferation ring --- one run by national governments, perhaps also assisted by other clandestine networks".
Jotman was there, and live-blogged the meeting-- see here. And more to come.
Photo: By Jotman shows Burmese monks in the US Senate.