Fears Myanmar building nuclear program: WikiLeaks

N Korean workers may be helping Myanmar build secret missile and nuclear sites in remote locations, according to Wikileaks.

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 09:13 AM IST

Washington: Dockworkers and foreign
businessmen have seen evidence of alleged secret nuclear and
missiles weapons sites being built deep in the Myanmar jungle,
a leaked US diplomatic cable said.

"The North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, are
constructing a concrete-reinforced underground facility that
is `500ft from the top of the cave to the top of the hill
above`," according to the cable, published by the British
daily The Guardian.

The cable from the US embassy in Rangoon was among those
released yesterday by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, and
quoted a Myanmar officer who said he had witnessed the North
Korean technicians helping the construction work.

One foreign businessman told the embassy that he had seen
reinforced steel bar, larger than for just a factory project,
being shipped on a barge. While dockworkers also told of
seeing suspicious cargo.

A cable dating from August 2004 revealed information from
a Myanmar officer in an engineering unit who said
surface-to-air missiles were being built at a site in a town
called Minbu in west-central Myanmar.

He said some 300 North Koreans were working at the site,
although the US cable noted this was improbably high, The
Guardian said.

The military junta in Myanmar has dismissed reports of
its nuclear intentions and brushed aside Western concerns
about possible cooperation with North Korea.

But in July US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
expressed worries about military ties between the two
countries saying a ship from Pyongyang had recently delivered
military equipment to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
"We continue to be concerned by the reports that Burma
may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a
nuclear program," she said.

A June documentary by the Norwegian-based news group
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) said Myanmar was trying to
develop nuclear weapons, citing a senior army defector and
years of "top secret material."

The DVB documentary gathered thousands of photos and
defector testimony, some regarding Myanmar`s network of secret
underground bunkers and tunnels, which were allegedly built
with the help of North Korean expertise.

According to another leaked US cable from 2009, a
well-placed source in the Myanmar military government said
General Thura Shwe Mann had visited North Korea in 2008.

But the source backtracked later insisting the talks were
only exploratory.

PTI