Accordign to a Burmese officer quoted in a cable from the U.S. embassy, North Korean technicians are helping to construct a facility and procure nuclear weapons, something both countries have vehemently denied so far.

Witnesses in Burma claim to have seen evidence of secret nuclear and missile sites being built in remote jungle, according to secret U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, heightening concerns that the military regime is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

A Burmese officer quoted in a cable from the U.S. embassy said he had witnessed North Korean technicians helping to construct an underground facility in foothills some 500km north-west of Rangoon.

“The North Koreans, aided by Burmese workers, are constructing a concrete-reinforced underground facility that is ‘500ft (150m) from the top of the cave to the top of the hill above’,” according to the cable. The reports add rare detail to rumours that have circulated since 2002, most recently from a military defector this year, that Burma is covertly seeking a nuclear bomb with the help of North Korea. Both countries have strenuously denied this in the past and Burma insists there are no North Koreans in the country.

The cables will compound international concern over Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes, and show why Barack Obama has made nuclear non-proliferation a central plank of his foreign policy. There is a report of a businessman offering uranium to the U.S. embassy in Rangoon. The embassy bought it. “He said that if the U.S. was not interested in purchasing the uranium, he and his associates would try to sell it to other countries, beginning with Thailand.”

Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2010

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