Nuclear whistleblower and former military engineer in the Burmese army, Sai Thein Win, says Naypyidaw is “doing what needs to be done” by signing an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday.
The Additional Protocol would give UN weapons inspectors wider access to facilities that could be used to develop nuclear technology.
In 2010 Sai Thein Win leaked sensitive documents and photographs to DVB, which amounted to evidence that Burma had a nascent nuclear weapons programme.
Sai Thein Win says he welcomes Burma’s cooperation with the UN’s nuclear agency.
“Since nuclear ambition is a dangerous thing and instead of pursuing it the ‘Burmese’ way, the government is now openly working with international organisations,” he said.
He went on to say that he thought the Burmese government was abandoning the project because they hadn’t got very far with their nuclear programme.
“According to analysis by experts including Robert Kelley, it was likely going to take them about 20 years to reach fruition, and as they had not got very far with the project, it was rather expendable,” said Sai Thein Win.
When asked whether the agreement was a sign that the Burmese government was becoming more transparent, Sai Thein Win expressed caution.
“The question is—are they going to allow inspections at the defence industry or will they let them inspect Thabeikkyin? [location of a supposedly secret nuclear facility, reported by DVB in 2010],” Sai Thein Win said.
“We will have to wait and see to what extent of transparency they have when dealing with the IAEA.”
According to the Associated Press, the US welcomed the move saying the agreement was “the latest step by the former pariah nation toward openness.”
Analysts have insisted that signing the Additional Protocol is only a first step, and that it could take years before the document is ratified and enforced under domestic law.
For more background on ex-Maj. Sai Thein Win: