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United States concerned about Myanmar-North Korea military ties

By the CNN Wire Staff
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 22, 2010.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Hanoi, Vietnam on July 22, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The United States has concerns about Myanmar-North Korea military ties
  • North Korea may be helping Myanmar develop a nuclear program
  • Myanmar may have received a shipment of arms from North Korea

Hanoi, Vietnam (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed U.S. concerns about Myanmar's reported military ties to North Korea and its potential impact on the region during a visit to Vietnam Thursday.

"We know that a ship from North Korea recently delivered military equipment to Burma and we continue to be concerned by the reports that Burma may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a nuclear program," Clinton said.

Myanmar was formerly known as Burma.

Clinton's comments came after meetings with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem.

In June, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, a key member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, postponed a trip to Myanmar out of concern that Myanmar's government was working with North Korea on the development of a nuclear program.

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At the time, Webb noted that "a defecting officer from [Myanmar's] military claims direct knowledge of such plans, and reportedly has furnished documents to corroborate his claims."

Webb said it was unclear "whether these allegations have substantive merit."

However, in light of the U.S. State Department's recent accusation that Myanmar has violated a U.N. Security Council resolution "with respect to a suspected shipment of arms from North Korea, there are now two unresolved matters related to activities of serious concern between these two countries."

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Regional Forum begins in Friday in Hanoi. Developments in Myanmar are likely to be a popular topic of discussion at the summit.

A military junta has ruled Myanmar since 1962 and preparing to hold its first elections in 20 years, but no date has been announced.

 
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