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The Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on Wednesday chiding North Korea over a hydrogen bomb test it conducted on 6 January.
The statement, which was published in state run media on Thursday, expressed the “deep concern” of the Burmese government as to North Korea’s “violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions” and its “undermin[ing] of the international non-proliferation regime”.
The notice insisted the “great importance” that Naypyidaw attaches to nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and stated that Burma, formerly of nuclear ambition, is working towards these global goals.
Burma is a party to the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty and the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and a Small Quantities Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it signed the Additional Protocol to that treaty in 2013. The signing allowed for wider inspections to be carried out by the IAEA.
In 2010, a former military engineer turned whistle-blower, Sai Thein Win, leaked to DVB sensitive documents and photographs suggesting Burma was developing a nuclear weapons program. The documents indicated that North Korea was involved in the development of Burmese nuclear missiles, a revelation that shocked the international community.
Burma’s departure from its former nuclear ambitions and its pivot away from its strong relationship with North Korea has been a facet of its transition to democracy, embarked upon in 2010 by the now outgoing Thein Sein administration.
A US Department of Defense report to Congress, written in 2013 and made public in March 2014 labelled Burma as being among a “core” group of nations still receiving conventional weapons from North Korea. The report too acknowledged that Burma had by then “begun to distance itself from North Korea.”