Bangkok: Myanmar`s regime has allegedly
exported rice and other agricultural commodities to North
Korea in exchange for arms, according to a US diplomatic cable
released by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
The July 2009 memo from the US embassy in Yangon said
that Myanmar had exported about 20,000 tons of rice to North
Korea through military-owned Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd.
According to a well-placed business source, Myanmar "has
been exporting rice and other agricultural commodities to
North Korea for over five years in exchange for arms," added
the cable, which referred to "conventional weapons".
US diplomatic memos released last year by WikiLeaks said
Washington has also suspected for years that Myanmar ran a
secret nuclear programme supported by Pyongyang.
A UN report published in November said North Korea was
supplying banned nuclear and ballistic equipment to Myanmar,
along with Iran and Syria.
Myanmar has dismissed reports of its nuclear intentions
and brushed aside Western concerns about possible cooperation
with North Korea.
A civilian administration has been nominally in charge of
Myanmar since March, following a controversial election last
year, but its ranks are dominated by former generals.