Andrew Selth is Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute.
Since the release of the Democratic Voice of Burma's (DVB) compelling documentary film on Burma's military ambitions and the written report on nuclear related activities in that country (which I wrote about here), the report's co-authors have given a number of interviews to the news media. They have both made statements about North Korea's possible role in Burma's nascent nuclear weapons program:
- Robert Kelley, a former senior IAEA inspector, is quoted on the DVB's website as saying: '(North Korea's) role in the nuclear program is only anecdotal'.
- Ali Fowle, a DVB researcher, told the Voice of America: 'None of our evidence implies that North Korea has anything to do directly with evidence that we think points to a nuclear program'.
These comments are more specific and go further than anything in the DVB's written report. They are particularly interesting in the light of claims by a wide range of commentators over the years that North Korea is directly involved in the construction of a secret nuclear reactor in Burma, and is actively helping the Naypyidaw regime to develop a nuclear weapon.
They are also relevant to recently stated US concerns about Burma's relationship with North Korea, and Naypyidaw's possible violation of UN Security Council Resolutions banning the export of both conventional and WMD-related arms by Pyongyang.
Clearly, despite the DVB's revelations, there is still a wide range of views about Burma's nuclear ambitions, which seem destined to remain the subject of speculation and controversy.