Images released last month showing a network of 800 tunnels, apparently excavated with help from nuclear pariah North Korea, and rumors that a North Korean freighter was ferrying weapons to Myanmar before turning around under U.S. pressure several weeks ago, have stoked concerns of an atomic alliance between the Asian nations (see GSN, July 7).
"There's suspicion that something is going on, and increasingly that cooperation with North Korea may have a nuclear undercurrent," said David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. "We are very much looking into it."
Washington is also looking into it, and U.S. envoys are expected to raise the matter -- at least in private meetings -- this week at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations conference in Thailand.
It remains unclear why Myanmar is building the tunnels, or what was being carried by the North Korean ship. Officials in Seoul and Washington believe the cargo was along the lines of small arms, while one South Korean intelligence analyst said satellite images indicated the ship carried Scud-type missiles and possibly material for a nuclear program in Myanmar. continue