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Direckshun
11-09-2012, 08:28 AM
In about a month the President continues the country's diplomatic pivot to eastern Asia by visiting with Burma.

Genuinely outstanding news for human rights activists, as Burma has been one of the most brutal oppressors of human rights and democracy and, honestly, just societal decency for most of our lifetimes.

I actually posted about Burma two years ago (http://74.86.127.27/BB/showthread.php?t=237709&page=15):

There are few stories I follow more diligently than the international spread of democracy. But in this day of increasing technology which gives individuals the power of communicating better, and increasing one's knowledge of what the rest of the world possesses, governments also gain sophistication needed to fend off any assaults from their citizens, for good or bad.

In the case of Iran and especially Burma, bad. These are two countries starving for democracy that simply can't get it because those power won't give it up.

In Iran, you have people that have tried revolting against the government in the most democratic way possible: demonstrations and protests that involve Iranians of every walk of life AND BOTH GENDERS, while doing so without guns and weapons, and getting beaten down every time by the entrenched military government and the thugs they hire to terrorize their neighbors.

Burma is an even more hopeless cause, because the junta there will fire live rounds into crowds, imprison anybody that says the slightest thing against the government FOR DECADES, and they purposefully starve their population while shutting down the internet so they can't reach the outside world.

Both of these countries are international hostage situations, pure and simple. International opinion does not budge them. The options for these countries are seemingly hopeless.

There are a couple different directions you can take with governments this brutal: you can attempt to close off from them and promise not to open up to them until they reform, or you can take the far more successful route of opening up to them, deepening some ties with them to create some strings between you that you can pull at various times to reward pro-democratic reform. For decades the United States has preferred the former approach, but the Obama administration has opened up the latter approach since he took office.

The Obama administation has already sent Bill Richardson (in the very early days) and Hillary Clinton there, and Burma (its junta leaders have attempted to re-name the country Myanmar) has opened up considerably. They're still in the stone age compared to the Western world, but progress has been made that we haven't seen out of the junta, ever.

Applause to the President for sticking his neck out there and taking a dramatic chance at continuing this trend.

http://blogs.reuters.com/breakingviews/2012/11/09/o-burma-trip-rewards-reformists-for-job-half-done/

O-Burma trip rewards reformists for job half done
By Wayne Arnold
November 9, 2012

Barack Obama’s planned trip to Myanmar this month risks rewarding the country’s rulers for a job half-done. The visit would justifiably herald recent reforms and cultivate a key ally as U.S. foreign policy pivots to Asia. But it is sure to antagonize China’s new leaders and could reduce pressure on Myanmar to make the tougher changes it still needs.

Though Obama will be the first serving U.S. president to visit, he may find the red carpet slightly worn. Since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited a year ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron, South Korea President Lee Myung-bak and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have all made the trek.

Still, the trip is fitting of historic change: to end 50 years of isolation, Myanmar has freed Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi along with hundreds of political prisoners, lifted media censorship and held democratic elections.

The country’s economic reforms are equally profound. It ditched a fixed exchange rate in April and has just passed a new investment law tailored to foreign investors. The rules allow 100 percent-owned foreign ventures with no minimum capital in all but a few sensitive industries, according to law firm VDB Loi.

But Myanmar’s toughest reforms lie ahead. It has no independent judiciary; its military is guaranteed a quarter of parliamentary seats and its border areas are torn by ethnic strife. It needs effective land reform to stop property grabs and promote agricultural exports that don’t create Philippine-style rural peonage.

Obama may agree with President Thein Sein that Myanmar’s reform path is irreversible and feel pressure to leapfrog nations like Japan, which have already rushed in. Washington is also clearly eager to add Myanmar to its growing constellation of Asian allies.

But China’s new leaders won’t like such a high-profile visit to a country they view as their back door to Africa and the Gulf. So the U.S. needs to be certain who is in charge. Myanmar’s reforms were undertaken despite Western sanctions – not because of them – in part to escape China’s domination. Though U.S. restrictions remain on the books, Obama has suspended them. Endorsing Myanmar at this stage leaves him with mostly sticks, but few remaining carrots.

Direckshun
11-09-2012, 08:31 AM
A scene from Burma's Saffron Revolution five years ago:

http://www.robertamsterdam.com/burma0927.JPG

The revolution ended in a bloody suppression by the junta, as they ordered troops from the northern part of the country to come down and shoot on them until they stopped assembling. Sometimes the troops were drugged to desensitize them to their mission.

This protest, for what it's worth, pre-dated even the earliest events in the Middle East's Arab Spring by a solid couple of years.

patteeu
11-09-2012, 08:34 AM
He'd better do some stretching. Those people are short. It's gonna take a pretty deep bow to show the proper level of subordination.

Direckshun
11-09-2012, 08:36 AM
He'd better do some stretching. Those people are short. It's gonna take a pretty deep bow to show the proper level of subordination.

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/q05H0Np10Ys" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

alnorth
11-09-2012, 12:17 PM
There are a couple different directions you can take with governments this brutal: you can attempt to close off from them and promise not to open up to them until they reform, or you can take the far more successful route of opening up to them, deepening some ties with them to create some strings between you that you can pull at various times to reward pro-democratic reform. For decades the United States has preferred the former approach, but the Obama administration has opened up the latter approach since he took office.

This is not accurate, at all. We never wavered from the first option.

What happened is the junta finally caved. It wasn't that we lightened up and they responded, Burma finally began to enact real democratic reforms. We didn't send SoS Clinton over until they began to crack.

The first option as you described above does not mean isolating the tyrannical nation forever and ever until they fully reform. When they began to tentatively move down the path of democracy, we immediately rewarded Burma. They have now progressed far enough to deserve the symbolism of a presidential trip.

BucEyedPea
11-09-2012, 12:28 PM
A scene from Burma's Saffron Revolution five years ago:


For someone as left as you, why are you so concerned with these color revolutions? Those are CIA operations. I would think you'd be opposed to such a thing.

Amnorix
11-09-2012, 12:31 PM
Can we at some point normalize relations with Cuba? Seems to me ludicrous that we still treat them as if they have missiles pointed at us or something. Or is it some kind of Cuban vote in Florida problem that freezes our hand?

Donger
11-09-2012, 12:33 PM
Shit, you must be running out of colors by now.

blaise
11-09-2012, 12:38 PM
Give him the Nobel now.

BucEyedPea
11-09-2012, 12:39 PM
I think this would make a better avy for Direckshun. Or it at least represents his FP persuasion. How many countries are there with shit govts?

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQpnaShzIBt4c8U1MKCsfNVwfeJZPQCrVvRy-VZ37caER3aBDSFnQ

listopencil
11-09-2012, 12:40 PM
A scene from Burma's Saffron Revolution five years ago:

http://www.robertamsterdam.com/burma0927.JPG

The revolution ended in a bloody suppression by the junta, as they ordered troops from the northern part of the country to come down and shoot on them until they stopped assembling. Sometimes the troops were drugged to desensitize them to their mission.

This protest, for what it's worth, pre-dated even the earliest events in the Middle East's Arab Spring by a solid couple of years.


Wow. That's fucking horrible.

BucEyedPea
11-09-2012, 12:41 PM
Can we at some point normalize relations with Cuba? Seems to me ludicrous that we still treat them as if they have missiles pointed at us or something. Or is it some kind of Cuban vote in Florida problem that freezes our hand?

I know those guys don't like that. I just don't know if it has to freeze our hand.

loochy
11-09-2012, 01:01 PM
So is there oil in Burma or something?

Direckshun
11-09-2012, 01:08 PM
This is not accurate, at all. We never wavered from the first option.

What happened is the junta finally caved. It wasn't that we lightened up and they responded, Burma finally began to enact real democratic reforms. We didn't send SoS Clinton over until they began to crack.

The first option as you described above does not mean isolating the tyrannical nation forever and ever until they fully reform. When they began to tentatively move down the path of democracy, we immediately rewarded Burma. They have now progressed far enough to deserve the symbolism of a presidential trip.

Sure we did. We sent Bill Richardson over in the very early days of the Obama administration.

Our policy regarding Burma was, to borrow from Amnorix, was a Cuba-like embargo of diplomatic relations. For decades. This changed as the Obama administration began to make overtures. They were slight overtures, but with the attractive economic power of the United States, that's really all you need with a country like Burma.

Direckshun
11-09-2012, 01:08 PM
Shit, you must be running out of colors by now.

I think I was actually saffron-ing for Burma for a little while.

Direckshun
11-09-2012, 01:10 PM
So is there oil in Burma or something?

Not so much, but America has tried to open up more economic relations with the southeastern Asia penninsula.

HemiEd
11-09-2012, 01:15 PM
He'd better do some stretching. Those people are short. It's gonna take a pretty deep bow to show the proper level of subordination.

Yeah, I was going to post that I wonder how much he is going to apologize for our ways and how big of a check he is going to write.

mlyonsd
11-10-2012, 05:59 AM
Winters can suck here.

Direckshun
11-20-2012, 06:53 PM
So cool.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/evanosnos/2012/11/obamas-trip-to-burma-a-remarkable-journey.html

Obama to Burma: A “Remarkable Journey”
Posted by Evan Osnos
November 19, 2012

The clearest measure of the symbolic significance of President Obama’s visit to Burma on Monday came not in his surprising speech, or in the sight of him towering over the Nobel laureate and former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. It came from a less likely source: the Chinese Propaganda Department.

In the past year, as Burmese leaders released wave after wave of political prisoners, ended its censorship of the press, and welcomed former dissidents into government, China and its fellow-autocrats, have looked on with bewilderment and no small degree of concern that the infection of openness could spread beyond Burma’s borders. So in an internal notice to national media last week, China’s Orwellian agency, which oversees the world’s largest censorship apparatus, made clear just how it feels about witnessing an American President welcomed by once-hostile generals in Burma, a nation that was, just two years ago, one of China’s most avid partners in authoritarianism: “Downplay Obama’s visit,” the Chinese Propaganda Department ordered (http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2012/11/ministry-of-truth-obama-and-beijing/).

In becoming the first American President to set foot in Burma—he stayed just six hours, then headed to Cambodia, also a first for a POTUS—Obama was taking a series of symbolic steps. Most broadly, he was signalling his confidence in Burma’s halting, maddening, imperfect but utterly astonishing transformation. During my visits to Burma this year for an article about its tentative changes (“The Burmese Spring (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/06/120806fa_fact_osnos#ixzz2Cia9zuXo)”), I tried to answer the question that was on the minds of anyone who cares about authoritarianism: Was this for real? Had one of the world’s most dedicated dictatorships actually decided to give up a measure of its control in return for a seat at the table of international society?

Obama—who began his Administration with a pledge to dictators around the world that the United States “will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist”—has found that Burma decided to take him up on the offer, and now he has decided to hold up his end of the bargain, even if many remain skeptical. He even did the government the favor (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/19/burma-myanmar-obama-name-visit?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter) of using its preferred name for the country, Myanmar, though America still officially calls it Burma. For many, part of the answer is now clear. Nick Kristof wrote (https://twitter.com/NickKristof/statuses/270521303654608897) today, “I used to argue against Burma sanctions, saying they would hurt the public but not bring change. I was flat wrong.”

But in the months since the Administration embarked on its efforts to encourage Burma’s opening up—notably, by rewarding it for allowing Aung San Suu Kyi to take her seat in Parliament—the path to redemption has proved to be perilous because of sectarian violence, which is hardly less fraught for Burma’s political future than if the reformers had turned out to be frauds. Ethnic violence in Rakhine state has displaced more than a hundred and ten thousand people and killed at least a hundred and sixty, while Burmese security forces have failed to protect minorities. The violence has deepened fears that Burma’s leaders are more interested in trade, investment, and an end to sanctions than they are in ethnic pluralism. Human Rights Watch said (http://bit.ly/U6vBOe) that Obama’s trip “risks providing an undeserved seal of approval to the military-dominated government.” On one of my visits to Burma’s embattled ethnic borderlands earlier this year, a farmer in a refugee camp told me that political reform will not bring an end to the bloodshed. “The new government talks about peace, but if it doesn’t give us our rights, then the war will take a long time,” he said. He was right.

In his speech today, Obama hailed (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20386066#TWEET373421) Burma’s “remarkable journey” but went on record with his reservations about the threat that ethnic violence poses to the country’s future. “National reconciliation will take time, but for the sake of our common humanity, and for the sake of this country’s future, it is necessary to stop the incitement and to stop violence,” he said.

For all the fears of what lies ahead for Burma, it is impossible not to marvel at the sheer improbability of all that has happened already: that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would be sitting in the open air in Rangoon, in the garden of the home where Aung San Suu Kyi once endured years of house arrest. If the Administration has been aggressive—hasty, some charge—in pushing for signs of progress in Burma, it is perhaps because moments of such stark political change are exceedingly rare, and they are desperate to seize it.

Burma has always carried more symbolic power than its obscure profile suggests. Orwell knew that, and it seems Obama does, too. Burma’s becoming, he said today, “a test of whether a country can transition to a better place.”

Direckshun
11-20-2012, 07:02 PM
Pretty strange, beautiful stuff happening in Burma.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/obama-burma-e1353335054911.jpg

http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/content/2012/1116-myanmar/14313477-1-eng-US/1116-myanmar_full_600.jpg

http://www.gannett-cdn.com/media/USATODAY/USATODAY/2012/11/19/ap-myanmar-us-obama_001-4_3_r560.jpg?f061b7ce9937c38b702e6f308816ac2a14e2a4ec

The above picture is Obama meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's most beloved reform advocate, recently freed from a decades-long house arrest and now participating in a Burmese Parliament.

She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, and has been the pulse of democratic aspirations in Burma for generations.

http://www.csmonitor.com/var/ezflow_site/storage/images/media/content/2012/1119-myanmar-us-obama.jpg/14335281-1-eng-US/1119-MYANMAR-US-OBAMA.jpg_full_600.jpg

Direckshun
11-20-2012, 07:04 PM
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JD3d-IzaM0M?list=PL8C61A61D646F0865&amp;hl=en_US" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

BigMeatballDave
11-20-2012, 07:09 PM
Not a single fuck was given

blaise
11-20-2012, 07:10 PM
Better give him another Nobel prize.

stonedstooge
11-20-2012, 07:14 PM
Do we owe them any apologies?

Donger
11-20-2012, 07:16 PM
Am I alone in thinking that perhaps Obama should be focusing on our issues right now, and not be halfway around the world doing whatever he's doing in Myanmar?

blaise
11-20-2012, 07:18 PM
Am I alone in thinking that perhaps Obama should be focusing on our issues right now, and not be halfway around the world doing whatever he's doing in Myanmar?

Strange and beautiful stuff is going on. Obama's almost angelic.

CoMoChief
11-20-2012, 07:27 PM
I really don't understand Direckshun's man crush on Obama.

The guy is LITERALLY one of the worst presidents we've ever had, and it's not even close.

He's fucking scum. A god damn CIA-banking globalist puppet just like Bush, Clinton, and Romney all are.

blaise
11-20-2012, 07:28 PM
I really don't understand Direckshun's man crush on Obama.

The guy is LITERALLY one of the worst presidents we've ever had, and it's not even close.

He's ****ing scum. A god damn CIA-banking globalist puppet just like Bush, Clinton, and Romney all are.

I give it 12 months until his, "Obama is a Top 5 President Ever" thread.

HonestChieffan
11-20-2012, 07:32 PM
Sweet Jesus boy. Get help.

HonestChieffan
11-20-2012, 07:53 PM
MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Apparently Thinks Obama’s Visit To Burma Is One Of The Greatest Moments In World History. Ever…

http://washingtonexaminer.com/msnbcs-alex-wagner-on-the-greatest-moment-in-world-history.-ever./article/2513953?custom_click=rss#.UKw0CLQ4un1


It seems Direck has a soul mate.

Greatest Moments in World History. Really?

Direckshun
11-20-2012, 07:57 PM
Am I alone in thinking that perhaps Obama should be focusing on our issues right now, and not be halfway around the world doing whatever he's doing in Myanmar?

On completely selfish grounds, an effective Asian pivot could pay economic dividends.

The President should also use his position of incredible influence to fight for humanitarian causes. Using American influence to promote self-determination in Burma is paramount to that.

Donger
11-20-2012, 07:59 PM
On completely selfish grounds, an effective Asian pivot could pay economic dividends.

The President should also use his position of incredible influence to fight for humanitarian causes. Using American influence to promote self-determination in Burma is paramount to that.

Not if we go off the "cliff" it won't. I'm fine with Obama making such a trip, but the timing isn't appropriate, IMO.

Direckshun
11-20-2012, 08:00 PM
Not if we go off the "cliff" it won't. I'm fine with Obama making such a trip, but the timing isn't appropriate, IMO.

That's fair, I suppose.

patteeu
11-20-2012, 08:18 PM
The above picture is Obama meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, ....

Did anyone ever teach him how to pronounce her name? This guy is a constant embarrassment to our country when he travels abroad.

cosmo20002
11-20-2012, 08:36 PM
This guy is a constant embarrassment to our country when he travels abroad.

LMAO

I only wish vailpass could be here to comment on these pics.

Inspector
11-21-2012, 01:17 PM
Do they still make shave cream? Their billboards were always the best.

Amnorix
11-21-2012, 01:41 PM
Am I alone in thinking that perhaps Obama should be focusing on our issues right now, and not be halfway around the world doing whatever he's doing in Myanmar?


First, he was gone for what? Less than a week?

Second, while domestic issues need to be precedence at this particular point in time, that doesn't mean you just ignore international issues. It just means the balancing of domestic versus international leans more domestic than "normal".

Or should he just hole up in the White House and ignore the rest of the world for the next 4 years?

Amnorix
11-21-2012, 01:43 PM
Not if we go off the "cliff" it won't. I'm fine with Obama making such a trip, but the timing isn't appropriate, IMO.


6 weeks to go and the trip is sandwiched between the elections and Thanksgiving, when I doubt much gets done in DC anyway.

Any deal will be reached on or around December 30th. You know it and I know it. What he does in Mid-November won't change that.

patteeu
11-21-2012, 01:44 PM
Rube-in-Chief (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112012-634213-obama-southeast-asian-trip-more-style-than-substance.htm#ixzz2CsnmLciF)

Amnorix
11-21-2012, 01:49 PM
Rube-in-Chief (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112012-634213-obama-southeast-asian-trip-more-style-than-substance.htm#ixzz2CsnmLciF)


Yeesh. Helluva resource you got there. It's like World Daily Net or whatever that site is, but with better graphics.

blaise
11-21-2012, 01:50 PM
Really strange and beautiful stuff. So uplifting.

patteeu
11-21-2012, 01:55 PM
Yeesh. Helluva resource you got there. It's like World Daily Net or whatever that site is, but with better graphics.

You're unfamiliar with Investors Business Daily?

patteeu
11-21-2012, 01:57 PM
Really strange and beautiful stuff. So uplifting.

If SHTSPRAYER posted a picture of that top, strange and beautiful mural of Obama he'd probably be reported and banned for racism.

La literatura
11-21-2012, 01:57 PM
You're unfamiliar with Investors Business Daily?

Its editorials are often right-wing trash.

La literatura
11-21-2012, 01:59 PM
Did anyone ever teach him how to pronounce her name? This guy is a constant embarrassment to our country when he travels abroad.

No he's not.

patteeu
11-21-2012, 02:02 PM
Its editorials are often right-wing trash.

It shocks me that you think so. If only they had a non trashy conservative to write their editorials like David Brooks or, better yet, Andrew Sullivan.

La literatura
11-21-2012, 02:03 PM
It shocks me that you think so. If only they had a non trashy conservative to write their editorials like David Brooks or, better yet, Andrew Sullivan.

That'd be a start.

patteeu
11-21-2012, 02:06 PM
No he's not.

Well he didn't give anyone a gift set of his own speeches so maybe he's improving, but he's still a major embarrassment to those of us with more refined sensibilities. :p

Direckshun
11-23-2012, 11:52 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/myanmar-says-ready-sign-nuclear-agreement-071605377--politics.html;_ylt=AnTVpLn2bRyAdOnO6fHY6Xus0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNsbmdxdjk3BG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBGUARwa2cDODd mOWQ5ODctNmFiNS0zODAzLWIzMzItYmFjMjQwMGRlODE4BHBvcwMyBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzdhYjc3YTM0LTM0MDItMTF lMi1iYmIwLTNjZDkyYmZmMjAxNg--;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

Myanmar says it's ready to sign nuclear agreement
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
Wed, Nov 21, 2012

..WASHINGTON (AP) — Little noticed in the warm glow of President Barack Obama's landmark visit to Myanmar was a significant concession that could shed light on whether that nation's powerful military pursued a clandestine nuclear weapons program, possibly with North Korea's help.

Myanmar announced it would sign an international agreement that would require it to declare all nuclear facilities and materials. Although it would be up to Myanmar to decide what to declare, it could provide some answers concerning its acquisition of dual-use machinery and its military cooperation with Pyongyang that the U.S. and other nations regard as suspect.

President Thein Sein's agreement to allow more scrutiny by U.N. nuclear inspectors suggests a willingness to go beyond democratic reforms that have improved relations with Washington and culminated in Obama's visit this week, the first by a U.S. president to the country also known as Burma.

David Albright and Andrea Stricker of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based nonproliferation group, said in an analysis it was a "remarkable decision."

"This latest move by Burma is extremely positive for its ongoing push for openness about the nuclear issue and for building confidence and transparency with the international community," they wrote.

However, there are also major doubts about how much Myanmar will divulge. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the most prominent voice in Congress on nonproliferation, said international concern would persist until Myanmar gives full disclosure of its relationship with Pyongyang.

After two decades of diplomatic isolation by the U.S., the Obama administration's active engagement with Myanmar has encouraged the former pariah regime into political reforms, reflected by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's election to parliament. Myanmar also agreed this week, after years of prodding, to open its notorious prisons to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

But until now, there has been little public indication of progress on security issues.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a visit last December that better U.S. relations with Myanmar would only be possible "if the entire government respects the international consensus against the spread of nuclear weapons."

Myanmar denies there's anything to worry about.

Last year, it declared it had halted plans to obtain a research reactor from Russia. That did little to allay worries of what might have happened under the radar. Anecdotal accounts suggest that around 2005, top leader Than Shwe had decided to seek North Korea's help on a nuclear program.

Separately, about six years ago, Myanmar acquired precision machinery from Germany, Switzerland and Singapore that defectors and some analysts concluded were part of a half-baked attempt to make equipment for enriching uranium, although other experts disputed that conclusion.

Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director-general at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the machinery, which could have nuclear or non-nuclear uses, was no smoking gun but raised questions. The end user certificates were signed by a head of Myanmar's Department of Atomic Energy.

Heinonen, now a senior fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said some countries had imposed restrictions on exports of special steels and other materials to Myanmar because of concerns they could be used for a nuclear program.

Lugar has voiced particular concern about Myanmar's possible nuclear ties with North Korea. Photos of a 2008 trip by Thura Shwe Mann — the Myanmar military's joint chief of staff, now parliament speaker — show him alongside Jon Pyong Ho, manager of North Korea's military industry and chief operational officer behind the secretive country's two underground nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

But the Obama administration has said the military trade between the two Asian nations appears to have been in small arms and missiles, itself in violation of current U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

According to the U.S. government, under a November 2008 accord the North agreed to help Myanmar build medium-range, liquid-fueled ballistic missiles. Two North Korean ships suspected to be heading to Myanmar with military cargoes in 2009 and 2011 were tracked by the U.S. Navy and turned around. And in July this year, even as the U.S. was easing investment restrictions on Myanmar, it sanctioned the country's primary arms manufacturer, saying North Korean experts were active at its facilities.

Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said Myanmar has taken "positive steps" toward severing the military ties with North Korea. He also welcomed Thein Sein's agreement to sign the additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced on the eve of Obama's visit, saying it would bring Myanmar "into a nonproliferation regime that is important to the United States and the world."

Myanmar's current agreement with the IAEA requires little in terms of disclosure, and the government was unresponsive when the Vienna-based agency in late 2010 sought an inspection.

Albright and Stricker said Myanmar should answer questions the IAEA has about any past nuclear activities and the procurement of sensitive equipment. They also urged it to invite U.N. experts to visit the country and answer questions about past suspicious transfers and cooperation with North Korea.

But how quickly Myanmar moves to sign the protocol — it says it first needs parliament's approval — and then ratify it, remains to be seen, as does whether it discloses any useful information.

"At the moment Burma has already been asked in public what they have and they say 'nothing,' so the list provided to IAEA could be short or blank," said Robert Kelley, a former IAEA director who believes Myanmar has pursued a nuclear weapons program.

The military, which has dominated for five decades and also is heavily represented in Myanmar's fledgling parliament, is likely to oppose scrutiny of sensitive sites.

"The concern of the international community will not pause until full disclosure of the North Korea-Burma relationship is achieved," Lugar said.

FD
11-23-2012, 11:54 AM
http://news.yahoo.com/myanmar-says-ready-sign-nuclear-agreement-071605377--politics.html;_ylt=AnTVpLn2bRyAdOnO6fHY6Xus0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNsbmdxdjk3BG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBGUARwa2cDODd mOWQ5ODctNmFiNS0zODAzLWIzMzItYmFjMjQwMGRlODE4BHBvcwMyBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzdhYjc3YTM0LTM0MDItMTF lMi1iYmIwLTNjZDkyYmZmMjAxNg--;_ylg=X3oDMTFpNzk0NjhtBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

Myanmar says it's ready to sign nuclear agreement
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
Wed, Nov 21, 2012


This is all very good news. Burma had until now been one of North Korea's key military allies.

Direckshun
11-23-2012, 11:57 AM
This is all very good news. Burma had until now been one of North Korea's key military allies.

I agree, this is good news.

Cautious optimism abounds.

patteeu
11-23-2012, 12:12 PM
This is all very good news. Burma had until now been one of North Korea's key military allies.

Key military allies? Other than buying weapons from NK, which Burma vowed to stop quite some time ago under pressure from SK and others in the west, what are they doing to help NK? I agree that it's a welcome bit of news in the sense that it potentially takes one of the customers of NK proliferation efforts out of the picture. It's a positive but I'm not sure how big of a positive it is.