US envoy presses Myanmar on N Korea ties

A senior US diplomat expressed concern to Myanmar`s new army-backed government about the country`s military ties with North Korea, the US embassy in Yangon said.

Updated: May 20, 2011, 23:39 PM IST

Yangon: A senior US diplomat expressed
concern to Myanmar`s new army-backed government about the
country`s military ties with North Korea, the US embassy in
Yangon said on Friday.

During a three-day visit, Deputy US Assistant
Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Joseph Yun also
called for "meaningful, concrete steps" towards democracy,
respect for human rights, and the release of political
prisoners, a US embassy statement said.

He also met pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who
was released from house arrest in November shortly after the
poll.

Yun "conveyed US concerns about Burma`s military
relationship with North Korea and called on the government to
abide by its public commitments to uphold UN Security Council
resolutions in that regard," the statement added.

US diplomatic memos released last year by the website
WikiLeaks said that Washington has suspected for years that
Myanmar ran a secret nuclear programme supported by Pyongyang.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions against
North Korea after it carried out two nuclear tests in 2006 and
2009, banning it from dealing in nuclear and ballistic
material.

Myanmar`s junta -- which in March handed over power to
a nominally civilian government -- has dismissed reports of
its nuclear intentions and brushed aside Western concerns
about possible cooperation with North Korea.

US President Barack Obama`s administration in 2009
launched a drive to engage with Myanmar`s junta, which in
November held the country`s first election in 20 years.

But Washington has voiced disappointment with the
results of the dialogue and refused to ease sanctions after
the November poll, which was marred by complaints of cheating
and won by the military`s political proxies.

During his trip, Yun held talks with Foreign Minister
Wunna Maung Lwin in the highest-level meeting between the two
nations since the handover of power to the new government.

PTI