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Asia-Pacific
Myanmar denies nuclear arms pursuit
Military government says accusations baseless and politically motivated.
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2010 04:27 GMT
Photos and other documents show equipment used in Myanmar's alleged nuclear programme [DVB]

Myanmar's military government has denied it is developing a nuclear weapons programme, denouncing recent allegations as "baseless accusations that are politically motivated".

"Myanmar is a country that always respects UN declarations and decisions as it is a UN member country. Myanmar is not in a position to produce nuclear weapons. Myanmar has no intention to become a nuclear power, the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

It said anti-government groups, in collusion with the media, had made the allegations with the goal of "hindering Myanmar's democratic process and to tarnish the political image of the government".

The Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), a news service run by Myanmar exiles, said last week that the military government, aided by North Korea, was actively pursuing a nuclear weapons programme with the aim of developing a bomb and long-range missiles.

It said its conclusions – made into a documentary it produced and aired by Al Jazeera - were based on a five-year study and revelations by a recent Myanmar army defector.

Undermining ties with US

On Al Jazeera

Myanmar's military ambitions

The Myanmar foreign ministry's statement, noting that Jim Webb, a US senator, had postponed his trip to Myanmar in light of the allegations, said the accusations were aimed at undermining renewed dialogue between the US and Myanmar.

Webb, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and a leading proponent of greater engagement with Myanmar, postponed his visit following the Voice of Burma report, saying it was a bad time for such a visit because of the new allegations.

The report said tunnels and bunkers were being built with North Korean help [DVB]

The foreign ministry said the allegations were based on "information provided by army deserters, defectors and dissidents which are inaccurate, unfair and unreliable".

A separate foreign ministry news release said the defector, Sai Thein Win, who had smuggled out files and photographs, was a captain in the army and had a degree in power engineering from State Technical University in Moscow.

It said he was an army deserter who had been absent from his job since February 2010, but did not specify where he had worked.

Source:
Agencies
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