23 Jul 2009

US fears North Korea nuclear ties to Myanmar

10:07 pm on 23 July 2009

The United States is concerned about the possible transfer of nuclear technology from North Korea to military-ruled Myanmar, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday.

She also said "complete and irreversible" denuclearisation was the only option for North Korea, saying after separate meetings with foreign ministers from China, Russia, Japan and South Korea that her counterparts supported this stance.

She said the US and its partners would move forward with a package of incentives if North Korea agrees to irreversible denuclearisation, but "unless and until they do", they will face international isolation.

In an earlier television interview in Bangkok, Mrs Clinton expressed concern about links between Myanmar and North Korea.

Talk of Myanmar-North Korea military ties was fuelled after a North Korean ship, tracked by the United States in June and July on suspicion of carrying banned arms, appeared headed toward Myanmar before turning around.

"The threat that I have always worried about first and foremost is the proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction," she said.

"So obviously we are very concerned about North Korea and recent reports about perhaps their dealings with what we call Burma," she added. When asked specifically if she was worried about possible nuclear transfers to Myanmar, she said "Yes."