Possible Myanmar/Burma Nuclear Weapons program ?

Discussion in 'Subcontinent & Central Asia' started by I-G, Aug 1, 2009.

  1. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    'Myanmar could be close to testing nuke bomb'
    Updated on Saturday, August 01, 2009, 14:07 IST


    Melbourne: As world concerns remain focused on the clandestine nuclear programme of North Korea and Iran, reports are filtering in of Myanmar's isolated military junta may be just a few years from testing its first atomic bomb.

    The key far-eastern nation is building a secret nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facilities with North Korea's help, Sydney Morning Herald has reported citing two key junta defectors.


    The Myanmarese military has sited the reactor in mountain caves inter-linked by deep tunnels at Naung Laing in Northern part of the country, apparently to camouflage it from detection by satellites.

    The secret complex, the paper said, runs parallel to a civilian reactor being built at another site by Russia that both the Moscow and Yangon authorities say will be put under international safeguards.

    The revelations by the Australian Daily come as US Naval Warships recently shadowed a North Korean commercial vessel bound for Myanmar, suspecting it to be carrying contraband nuclear and missile components. However, the ship was not intercepted.

    China and other Asian nations had helped persuade Myanmar to turn back the North Korean freighter, the Nam Kam 1. A month back Japanese police arrested a North Korean and two of its own nationals allegedly trying to export illegally to Myanmar magnetic measuring device that could be used to develop missiles.

    The Hearld identified the two defectors as an officer with a Myanmar army's secret nuclear battalion and the other a former executive and leading regime business partner, Htoo Trading, who handled nuclear contracts with Russia and North Korea.

    It said the defectors were extensively interviewed separately over the past two years by Australian strategic experts and a Thai-based Australian journalist.

    The defectors testimony brings into sharp focus, hints and sightings emerging recently of North Korean delegations visiting Myanmar, the paper said.

    Washington, the report said, is increasingly concerned that Myanmar is the main nuclear proliferation threat from North Korea, after Israel destroyed in September 2007 a reactor that North Koreans were apparently building in Syria.

    It said that one of the defectors was picked up by the US intelligence agencies last year. Some weeks later Myanmar protested to Thai about overflights made by US drones across its territory.

    The key to clandestine nuclear cooperation between Myanmar and North Korea could be because of Pyongyong's eye on securing supply of uranium from Yangon's proven huge reserves and earning hard currency, the Herald said.

    Myanmar could be close to testing nuclear bomb: Report
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This means Bangladesh will have to get a nuke from Pakistan, this will be the next country Pakistan proliferates too.
     
  4. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    that would happen after myanmar get it on first place ..

    North Korea serves Chinese agendas .. Chinese angle seems more in this Myanmar nukes issue .
     
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    who else has proliferated nukes thru out Asia??
     
  6. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    its China ....
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    China has taken sides and they have chosen Burma over Bangladesh.
     
  8. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    I heard the Russians are building a Civilian reactor for Bangladesh? Is it true?
     
  9. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    And u think that pakistan will go against China and give Nukes to bangladesh ?
     
  10. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    covertly-yes
     
  11. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    and what makes u think so ?
     
  12. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Myanmar building nuke reactor, says media report
    TNN 2 August 2009, 01:57pm IST



    NEW DELHI: After Iran and North Korea, the next international pariah to be accused of having nuclear ambitions is Myanmar.


    A report in the `Sydney Morning Herald' on Saturday quotes two Myanmarese defectors as saying that the Myanmar junta was secretly building a nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facility with North Korea's help, with the aim of acquiring its first nuclear bomb in five years.

    According to the report, "The secret complex, much of it in caves tunnelled into a mountain at Naung Laing in northern Burma, runs parallel to a civilian reactor being built at another site by Russia that both the Russians and Burmese say will be put under international safeguards."

    One of the defectors was described as an "officer with a secret nuclear battalion in the Burmese army who was sent to Moscow for two years' training". The other, it said, "was a former executive of the leading regime business partner, Htoo Trading, who handled nuclear contracts with Russia and North Korea".

    If true, the full weight of international pressure will be brought against Myanmar, said officials familiar with developments. But equally, the information that has been peddled by the defectors is also "preliminary" and could be used by the west to turn the screws on Myanmar -- on democracy and human rights issues -- in the run-up to the elections in the country in 2010.

    In 2002, Myanmar had notified IAEA of its intention to pursue a civilian nuclear programme. Later, Russia announced that it would build a nuclear reactor in Myanmar. There have also been reports that two Pakistani scientists, from the AQ Khan stable, had been dispatched to Myanmar where they had settled down, to help Myanmar's project.

    Recently, the David Albright-led ISIS rang alarm bells about Myanmar attempting a nuclear project with North Korean help.

    During an ASEAN meeting in Thailand last week, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton highlighted concerns of the North Korean link. "We know there are also growing concerns about military cooperation between North Korea and Burma which we take very seriously," Clinton said.

    None of the information supplied is indepth, said sources, but it can be used to raise the temperature and awareness of Myanmar's alleged intentions.

    The Australian media report said, "China and other Asian nations recently helped persuade Rangoon to turn back a North Korean freighter, the Nam Kam 1, that was being shadowed by US warships on its way to Burma with an unknown cargo. A month ago, Japanese police arrested a North Korean and two Japanese for allegedly trying to export illegally to Burma a magnetic measuring device that could be used to develop missiles."

    According to the report, "A South Korean intelligence expert, quoted anonymously, claimed satellite imagery showed the ship was part of clandestine nuclear transfer and also carried long-range missiles. Shadowed by the US Navy, the vessel eventually turned around and returned home."

    The Russian assistance to Myanmar's nuclear programme would be under IAEA safeguards, but not, if Myanmar is pursuing it with North Korea.

    Myanmar has proven reserves of uranium, and the technology acquired from North Korea might be used to extract plutonium.

    According to reports, the Russian reactor hasn't taken off because Myanmar just has no money. But reportedly over the past 6 years, many Myanmar scientists, technicians and military personnel have received nuclear training in Russia.

    Myanmar building nuke reactor, says media report - Rest of World - World - NEWS - The Times of India
     
  13. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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  14. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Looks like Pakistani scientists are at the forefront of global nuclear proliferation.
    Will be interesting to see the Indian response if the situation goes the Iran or N Korea way.Let's see how the US handles this crisis.
     
  15. IBM

    IBM Regular Member

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    Wat is this man any tom dick and harry becoming nuclear power. I think its china who is try to fire bullet from burma shoulder. Man Indian subcontinent is becoming volatile day by day. India should be ready for chinas proxy war..
     
  16. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Why Burma needs a nuclear bomb??.To fight whom??. Something doesn't fit right. I have my doubts about this news.
     
  17. 1.44

    1.44 Member of The Month SEPTEMBER 2009 Senior Member

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    Probably leverage against future human right's allegations and defense against the US military might as the junta is pretty paranoid when it comes to the US/West.
     
  18. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    Its a military junta and its needs nuclear bomb so that no one can change the regime .
     
  19. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    myanmar(or burma) is making zie bomb

    Myanmar's ruling generals have started a programme to build nuclear weapons. They are trying to develop long-range missiles.
    Elections later this year are aimed at convincing the world they are moving towards democracy. But fearing attack from the US and an uprising by their own people, Myanmar's generals are instead digging themselves in with a nationwide network of bunkers.
    With top-secret material gathered over five years, this film reveals how Myanmar is trying to become the next nuclear-armed North Korea.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/general/2010/05/201053110470990951.html


    senior U.S. senator Thursday canceled his trip to Myanmar, citing the Southeast Asian country's alleged connection with North Korea for the transfer of nuclear technology, Yonhap News said.

    "News reports published today contain new allegations regarding the possibility that the Burmese government has been working in conjunction with North Korea in order to develop a nuclear program," Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia) said on his Web site


    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/nation_view.asp?newsIdx=67063&categoryCode=113

    its a disscussion from MP would like to know the comments from our members
     
  20. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Myanmar's nuclear bombshell

    By Bertil Lintner
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    BANGKOK - Myanmar's ruling generals have started a secret program to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles to deliver them in a high-stakes bid to deter perceived hostile foreign powers, according to an investigative report by the Democratic Voice of Burma that will be aired later on Friday by television news network al-Jazeera.

    Asia Times Online contributor Bertil Lintner was involved in reviewing materials during extensive authentication processes


    conducted by international arms experts and others during the report's five-year production. In the strategic footsteps of North Korea, Myanmar's leaders are also building a complex network of tunnels, bunkers and other underground installations where they and their military hardware would be hidden against any external aerial attack, including presumably from the United States.

    Based on testimonies and photographs supplied by high-ranking military defectors, the documentary will show for the first time how Myanmar has developed the capacity and is now using laser isotope separation, a technique for developing nuclear weapons. It will also show how machinery and equipment has been acquired to develop ballistic missiles.

    That Myanmar is now trying to develop nuclear weapons and has become engaged in a military partnership with North Korea will dramatically change the region's security dynamic. Myanmar is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a 10-nation grouping whose members jointly signed the 1995 Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the Bangkok Treaty.

    The nuclear bid will also put the already diplomatically isolated country on a collision course with the US. US Senator Jim Webb, who has earlier led a diplomatic drive to ''engage'' the junta, abruptly canceled his scheduled June 4 trip to Myanmar when he learned about the upcoming documentary. The explosive revelations about Myanmar's nuclear initiative are expected to freeze Washington's recent warming towards the generals.

    It is possible that the junta's grandiose schemes could amount to little more than a monumental waste of state resources. According to one international arms expert familiar with the materials on Myanmar's program, the laser isotope separation method now being employed by Myanmar's insufficiently trained scientists ''is probably one of the worst that is yet to be invented. The major countries of the world have spent billions of dollars trying to make the process work without success.''

    There is thus a risk that the generals will further undermine the country's already wobbly economic fundamentals on ill-conceived weapons projects, ones that may yield little more than lots of radioactive holes in the ground and some crude Scud-type missiles.

    Western military experts assert that any sophisticated bunker-buster bomb could easily penetrate the newly built network of tunnels and other underground facilities, constructed near the new capital of Naypyidaw. In light of the country's lack of technical know-how, Myanmar's desired nuclear bomb may also turn out to be a huge white elephant. It is not even certain that its homegrown missiles will fly. At least that is the conclusion of weapons' experts who have closely examined the materials that will be presented in al-Jazeera's investigative report.

    The program was produced over five-years by the Democratic Voice of Burma, or DVB, a Norway-based radio and TV station run by Myanmar exiles. They have made their case based on leaked photographs, documents and testimonies from key military defectors. The documentary was directed by London-based Australian journalist Evan Williams.

    Nuclear turncoat
    The report's main source, Sai Thein Win, is a former Myanmar army major who recently defected to the West, bringing with him a trove of information never seen before outside of the country. His documentation has been scrutinized by, among others, Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientist at the Los Alamos facility where work is conducted towards the design of nuclear weapons.

    From 1992 to 1993 and 2001 to 2005, Kelley also served as one of the directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "Sai Thein Win reminds us to some degree of Mordecai Vanunu, an Israeli technician at the Dimona nuclear site in the Negev desert ... Sai is providing similar information," said Kelley.

    Vanunu blew the whistle on Israel's nuclear program, and, according to Kelley, Sai Thein Win has "provided photographs of items that would appear to be very useful in a nuclear program as they are specific to nuclear issues. They could be seen as for other things, but they look like they were designed for a nuclear program."

    Geoff Forden, another international arms expert, says Myanmar appears to be "pursuing at least two different paths towards acquiring a missile production capability. One is a more or less indigenous path. The less indigenous comes from the fact that they have sent a number of Myanmar military officers to Moscow for training in engineering related to missile design and production."

    Sai Thein Win was among the Myanmar army officers sent to Russia and he has produced photographs of himself taken during his training there. He also has pictures of a top secret nuclear facility located 11 kilometers from Thabeikkyin, a small town near the Irrawaddy River in northern Myanmar.

    He claims this is the headquarters of the army's nuclear battalion and that it is there the regime is trying to build a nuclear reactor and enrich uranium for weapons. Missile development, he says, is carried out at another facility near Myaing, southwest of Mandalay, in central Myanmar.

    Machinery for the Myaing plant has been supplied by two German firms, which also sent engineers to install the equipment. The Germans, Sai Thein Win says, were told that "the factories were educational institutions ... those poor German engineers don't know, didn't know that we were aiming to use those machines in producing rocket parts or some parts for military use."

    How useful those machines will be for missile development is questionable. Despite their training in Russia, the Myanmar engineers handling them have little or no knowledge of producing sophisticated weapons, according to experts who say the generals' apparent dream of having a nuclear reactor may also be just that: a pipedream.

    Another high-ranking Myanmar military official also provided DVB's researchers with classified information related to the country's nuclear and missile program. He, however, fell out of view while in Singapore some time last year and his current whereabouts is now unknown.

    Myanmar was one of the first countries in the region to launch a nuclear research program. In 1956, the country's then-democratic government set up the Union of Burma Atomic Energy Center in the former capital Yangon. Unrelated to the country's defense industries, it came to a halt when the military seized power in 1962. The new military power-holders, led by General Ne Win, did not trust the old technocrats and saw little use in having a nuclear program designed for peaceful purposes.



    In 2001, Myanmar's present ruling junta aimed to revitalize the country's nuclear ambitions. An agreement was signed with Russia 's Atomic Energy Ministry, which announced plans to build a 10-megawatt nuclear research reactor in central Myanmar. That same year, Myanmar established a Department of Atomic Energy, believed to be the brainchild of the Minister for Science and technology, U Thaung, a graduate of the Defense Services Academy and former ambassador to the US. At the time, US-trained nuclear scientist Thein Po Saw was identified as a leading advocate for nuclear technology in Myanmar.

    Reports since then have been murky, including speculation that the deal was shelved due to Myanmar's lack of finances. The Russian reactor was never delivered, but in May 2007 Russia 's atomic energy agency, Rosatom, again announced it would build Myanmar 's nuclear-research reactor. Under the initial 2001 agreement, Myanmar nationals, most military personnel, were sent to Russia for training. Nearly 10 years later, Russia has yet to deliver the reactor because Myanmar "refused to allow inspection by the IAEA", according to DVB.

    North Korean ally
    Myanmar thus appears to have embarked on its own indigenous program to build a nuclear research reactor. Unconfirmed reports circulated on the Internet claim that North Korea is assisting the Myanmar authorities in the endeavor. Diplomatic relations between North Korea and Myanmar, which were severed in 1983 when North Korean agents detonated a bomb in Yangon, were officially restored in April 2007.

    Only days later, a North Korean freighter, the Kang Nam I, docked at Thilawa port near the old capital. Heavy crates were unloaded under strict secrecy and tight security. A journalist working for a Japanese news agency was detained and interrogated for attempting to photograph the unloading.

    Last year, the Kang Nam I was back in the news when, destined for Myanmar, it was turned back by US naval warships. At the time, it was thought to be carrying material banned under UN Security Council resolutions aimed at preventing North Korea from exporting material related to the production and development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

    North Korea's role in Myanmar 's nascent nuclear program is still a matter of conjecture. But in May this year, a seven-member UN panel monitoring implementation of sanctions against North Korea said its research indicated that Pyongyang is involved in banned nuclear and ballistic activities in Iran, Syria and Myanmar.

    The experts in the documentary said they were looking into "suspicious activity in Myanmar", including the presence of Namchongang Trading, one of the North Korean companies sanctioned by the UN. North Korean tunneling experts are also known to have provided crucial assistance to the construction of Myanmar's underground facilities.

    According to an unnamed Myanmar army engineer, who was also interviewed for the DVB documentary, "a batch of eight North Koreans came each time and [were] sent back, [then] another eight came and were sent back. At the Defense Industry factories, there are at least eight to 16 of them ... they act as technical advisers."

    In November 2008, Gen Shwe Mann, the third-highest ranking official in Myanmar's military hierarchy, paid a secret visit to Pyongyang. Traveling with an entourage of military officers, he visited a radar base and a factory making Scud missiles, and signed a memorandum of understanding with the North Koreans to enhance military cooperation between the two countries.

    A photo file and other details of the visit were leaked to Myanmar exiles and were soon available on the Internet, prompting the authorities to carry out a purge within its own ranks. On January 7 this year, one Foreign Ministry official and a retired military officer were sentenced to death for leaking the material.

    Military insecurity
    Aung Lin Htut, a former intelligence officer attached to the Myanmar Embassy in Washington until he defected in 2004, claims that soon after General Than Shwe came to power in 1992 he "thought that if we followed the North Korean example we would not need to take into account America or even need to care about China. In other words, when they have nuclear energy and weapons other countries ... won't dare touch Myanmar."

    The tunnels and bunkers - some of which are large enough to accommodate hundreds of soldiers - should be seen in the same light, Aung Lin Htut has argued. "It is for their own safety that the government has invested heavily into those tunnel projects," he said.

    The generals may fear not only an outside attack, which is highly unlikely according to security experts, but also another popular uprising. In 1988, millions of people took to the streets to demand an end to military dictatorship. In 2007, tens of thousands of Buddhist monks led marches for national reconciliation and a dialogue between the military government and the pro-democracy movement.

    On both occasions, the generals responded with military force and brutally suppressed the popular movements. But the generals were shaken and apparently saw the need to move themselves and vital military facilities underground and away from populated areas, as also seen in the junta's bizarre and sudden move to the new capital Naypyidaw in November 2005.

    For other reasons, North Korea reacted similarly after the war on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea is believed to have one of the world's most extensive complexes of tunnels, storage facilities - and even weapons' factories - all hidden from the prying eyes of real and imagined enemies.

    That is likely why Myanmar's generals see Pyongyang as a role model and why relations between the two countries have warmed since the 1990s - hardly by coincidence at the same time the US has become one of Myanmar's fiercest critics. In 2005, then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice branded Myanmar, along with Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Iran and Zimbabwe as "outposts of tyranny", and the US tightened financial sanctions against the regime and its supporters.

    The present US administration of President Barack Obama adopted a more conciliatory approach, sending emissaries to Myanmar to "engage" the generals and nudge them towards democracy. But sources close to the decision-making process in Washington also believe that concern over Myanmar's WMD programs - and increasingly close ties with North Korea - should be equally important considerations in any new US policy towards Myanmar.

    One of the negotiators recently sent to Myanmar, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell, is interviewed in the DVB documentary. When asked about Myanmar's new security-related polices and initiatives, he replies rather cryptically:
    Some of it is sensitive so really can't be discussed in great detail, but I will say we have seen enough to cause us some anxiety about certain kinds of military and other kinds of relationships between North Korea and Burma [Myanmar]. We have been very clear with the authorities about what our red lines are ... we always worry about nuclear proliferation and there are signs that there has been some flirtation around these matters.
    According to internal documents presented by the DVB, the total cost of Myanmar's tunneling projects and WMD programs is astronomical, running into billions of US dollars. This appears to be one reason why several Myanmar military officers have defected to the West - and brought with them the evidence that will be seen by global audiences on Friday.
     
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  21. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Xi’s trip to Burma: another routine visit?

    Saturday, 19 December 2009 00:37 Mungpi

    New Delhi (Mizzima) - While Burma and China will further strengthen bilateral relations with the visit of Vice President Xi Jinping, which will begin on Saturday, observers said India will be closely watching developments in Sino-Burmese relationship.

    While it is not uncommon for the Burmese and Chinese leaders to exchange visits, the visit by Xi, who has been widely tipped to succeed President Hu Jintao, would be watched with curiosity by India, a senior Indian journalist, who monitors Burma, said.

    “Given the background of Chinese presence in Burma and the fact that the Burmese junta is planning an election in 2010, any visit at this time by the Chinese [to Burma] would be viewed with interest by New Delhi,” Ramesh Ramachandran, a senior journalist, said.

    He said, any visit by the Chinese or Burmese officials, would increment relationship between the two and Xi’s visit is yet just another visit that the two countries are maintaining.

    “But if speculations are true that Xi would be succeeding President Hu Jintao, this visit could be significant, and New Delhi will keep an eye on it,” he added.

    Burma, which shares long borders with India and China, has been supported internationally by the two giants, which are both trying to gain a foothold in the resource-rich Southeast Asian nation.

    Last week, Indian Foreign Minister S.M Krishna held bilateral talks with his Burmese counterpart, at the sidelines of a regional meeting held in Naypyitaw. Following the meeting, Krishna told reporters that the Burmese authorities had assured helping India in fighting Indian insurgents operating on Burmese soil.

    Ramachandran said, with China and India countering each other’s influence in the region it has resulted in a tug-of-war in Burma, and provided the Burmese military rulers the support they needed.

    “If you look at our neighbourhood in South Asia, China and India will be in a tug-of-war in various countries including Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Burma,” he added.

    But according to a Burmese analyst based in Thailand, Xi’s visit to Burma only indicates the importance of Burma in Chinese foreign policy in general and does not have particular significance.

    “Choosing Burma among the four countries might seen as significant but Xi, who has been largely tipped to be the successor, is visiting as part of the Chinese way of introducing the next President in terms of foreign relations,” Bo Bo Kyaw Nyien, a Burmese analyst based in Thailand said.

    According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Xi is touring Japan, South Korea, Burma and Cambodia in response to invitations by the four countries.

    Bo Bo Kyaw Nyien said, Xi is likely to discuss various issues ranging from security along the border, boosting of bilateral economics, and gas and oil projects, but concluded that Xi is primarily paying a visit to understand the bilateral relationship with these countries that are important to China.

    “Japan definitely is an important country for China as South Korea is. And Cambodia and Burma are both influenced largely by China,” he said.

    If speculations come true, Chinese President Hu Jintao, when he retires in 2012, would be succeeded by Xi, who would then serve as the President of China up to 2022. He would also be the fifth president of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

    A Sino-Burma border based observer, Aung Kyaw Zaw, earlier told Mizzima that Xi, during his visit, would discuss the security situation of the Sino-Burma border, which in August was strife torn with conflicts breaking out between the junta’s troops and ethnic Kokang rebels.

    The Chinese Vice President would certainly try to get an assurance from the Burmese junta for stability with the neighbor along the border, he added.

    In August fighting broke out between the Burmese Army and Kokang rebels in North Eastern Shan State, forcing over 30,000 people to flee to China.

    And with several ethnic rebels rejecting the junta’s proposal of transforming their armies into a junta administered Border Guard Force (BGF), tension has been brewing between the junta’s troops and rebel armies along the Sino-Burma border.

    During the visit, Xi, however, is also expected to raise issues related to bilateral cooperation including the recently signed contract to build a dual gas and oil pipeline from Burma’s western Arakan coast to China’s North-western Yunnan province, Aung Kyaw Zaw said.

    With Burma carrying the burden of allowing the construction of gas and oil pipelines, China would be more than obliged to help the Burmese junta, he said.
     

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