The US is concerned about the possible transfer of nuclear technology from North Korea to Myanmar, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday.
Clinton’s comments, during a visit to Bangkok, came ahead of a regional security meeting in the Thai resort of Phuket, where the most contentious topics will likely be Pyongyang’s nuclear program and how to promote democracy in Myanmar.
“The threat that I have always worried about first and foremost is the proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction,” Clinton said in a TV interview in Bangkok to be broadcast later.
“So obviously we are very concerned about North Korea and recent reports about perhaps their dealings with what we call Burma,” she said.
Talk of Myanmar-North Korea military ties was fueled after a North Korean ship, tracked by the US last month and this month on suspicion of carrying banned arms, appeared headed toward Myanmar before turning around.
North Korea has a long history of arms proliferation and US officials believe it helped Syria build a nuclear reactor that was destroyed by Israeli bombers in 2007.
On Tuesday, Clinton said she was worried about the possibility of military links between the two countries, both regarded as pariahs in the West.
She said such military cooperation would pose a direct threat to Myanmar’s neighbors. Both North Korea and Myanmar are represented at the Phuket talks, although Pyongyang has only sent a low-level delegation.
Clinton was expected to consult regional players later yesterday in Phuket about giving North Korea a choice between tighter sanctions if it pursues its nuclear program and wider incentives if it abandons them, US officials said.
She plans separate meetings with the foreign ministers of China, Japan, Russia and South Korea to plot strategy on how to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions.
Those talks precede Asia’s biggest annual security gathering, the ASEAN Regional Forum, which takes place today.
In the last two months North Korea has conducted its second nuclear test, test-fired seven ballistic missiles and boycotted talks on ending its nuclear program.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big