North Korean-Burmese alliance grows closer

posted at 5:15 pm on July 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Any room for one more in the Axis of Evil Alternative Ethics Outlook?  Burma, called Myanmar by the ruling military junta, sent its military leaders to North Korea for secret talks last year, resulting in a closer military and economic alliance just coming to light now, according to the Telegraph.  Pyongyang has begun supplying the Burmese regime with weapons in defiance of UN arms embargos on both countries:

A 37-page document in Burmese obtained by Radio Free Asia detailed a visit by 17 Burmese officials, including General Thura Shwe Mann, the chief of staff of the army and Burma’s third-ranked leader, to Beijing and Pyongyang last November.

The stated aim of the visit was “to modernize the Burmese military and increase its capabilities through visiting and studying the militaries” of China and North Korea, and a memorandum of understanding was signed with North Korea counterparts on November 27.

The report also says the Burmese delegation was shown North Korean surface-to-air missiles and rockets, along with naval and air defense systems and tunnel construction, including how Pyongyang stores aircraft and ships underground to protect them from aerial attack.

None of this comes as any great shock, as Pyongyang needs all the customers it can get for its weapons systems, and Burma needs weapons systems to maintain its iron grip on power.  The path of the Kang Nam, the North Korean ship trailed by the US Navy and suspected of illegal gun-running, originally appeared to lead to Burma, before American pressure forced it to turn around.  This revelation confirms that Kim Jong-Il has turned the rogue nation of Burma into a client state.

If we needed more proof of Kim’s inclination to act as a proliferator, it would be difficult to find anything better.  He partners with fellow rogue states to move weapons around the world while his people starve to death.  The only action that will get his attention is a blockade, which is why Kim keeps threatening war when the US and its Pacific Rim allies attempt to impose it.  It may not be a bluff; if we cut off his ability to sell weapons, Kim will have no choice but to either surrender to the six-party agenda or to attempt to seize the entire Korean peninsula.


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Well, at least, the Burmese government is unique in understanding Islam correctly. It should be the model for the rest of the world on that issue.

And the Soviet Union was useful against the Nazis.

thuja on July 3, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Rut Row! Perhaps Barry can ask bow down and beg for another UN Resolution?

Bulldogger on July 3, 2009 at 5:24 PM

Wonder if the ship the US was trailing was really empty? Kim sent it out hoping the US would attack or seize it. This would then give him more clout to say the US is the aggressor.

offroadaz on July 3, 2009 at 5:25 PM

burma is a close second to n. korea on the “dangerously unhinged and unstable fascist asian nation” list.

it’s no coincidence that orwell lived there for a long time…

homesickamerican on July 3, 2009 at 5:33 PM

All of this going on and the POTUS is a rank amateur. YAY!!

Cindy Munford on July 3, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Burma does have a nascent nuclear program; Russian nuclear technical assistance has been in Burma for the past several years.

Given the size of the Kang Nam…I’d look for North Korea to fly a couple Il-76’s from Sunan airfield to Shenyang, then on to Chongqing or Kunming and then on into Burma…all in friendly air space…if indeed there were cargo aboard the Kang Nam that was of an illicit type, and all could be accomplished in a 24-hour period…perhaps 48, if cargo weight demanded more flights.

A lot more expensive ton per mile costs…staggering perhaps to a regular freight forwarder in normal times…but avoiding UN inspection at sea or in a third-party port may be worth it to the P’yongyang regime.

Never underestimate the abilities of a regime with nothing to lose.

coldwarrior on July 3, 2009 at 6:05 PM

What is the reference to ‘Kang Nam’?

In Thai, ‘nam kang’ means ‘water hard’, or ice.
But I think you meant something else…

Timothy S. Carlson on July 3, 2009 at 6:27 PM

Nevermind. I’ve been educated in the comments…

Timothy S. Carlson on July 3, 2009 at 6:28 PM

Kim should be shipping nukes and missiles to Venezuala. he gets oil, and his missiles are much closer to the US!!

*we will bury you yanqui imperialist running dogs of capitalism*

right4life on July 3, 2009 at 6:34 PM

We’ve got France, they’ve got Myanmar. Call it zeros even.

DarkCurrent on July 3, 2009 at 6:40 PM

A 37-page document in Burmese obtained by Radio Free Asia detailed a visit by 17 Burmese officials, including General Thura Shwe Mann, the chief of staff of the army and Burma’s third-ranked leader, to Beijing and Pyongyang last November.

So, let me get this straight: If Burma and NoKo are members of the axis of evil (which they surely are), and if they are both protected by China (they are), then why do we not also include China in the Axis of Evil?

Oh, … that’s right: China owns us (financially), so we cannot talk bad about them….

…. Happy “Independence” Day!

sanantonian on July 3, 2009 at 7:43 PM

How much control do civilized nations exercise over the Burmese border? Will Laos or Thailand allow smuggling, for example? Will China block it?

China has a geographic interest: it wants mountains on its borders, and it wants to control the states on the other side. (This is why it took Tibet.) This ring of mountains makes it nearly invulterable to either a mass armor attack or to the establishment of a cross-border culture that could become a separatist cause.

njcommuter on July 3, 2009 at 8:01 PM

and Burma needs weapons systems to maintain its iron grip on power.

Nonsense. Their reign is about as low-tech as it gets. They just need small arms ammo. And fear.

Kenosha Kid on July 3, 2009 at 8:45 PM

And fear.

Kenosha Kid on July 3, 2009 at 8:45 PM

Fear they have in plenty.

Oldnuke on July 3, 2009 at 10:02 PM

Oldnuke on July 3, 2009 at 10:02 PM

In the tradition of absolute despots across history….Myanmar’s [it will always be Burma] ruling junta is spending lavishly to build a new capital city, Naypyidaw, despite the abject poverty of the nation still trying to recover form that cyclone last year.

The new Presidential Palace…built in an almost P’yongyang style…

All this in a nation with a per capita income of about $200.

Seems fear is indeed a vital and tool in the junta’s box of tricks to maintain the population’s devotion and loyalties…if one looks back at the arrests and slaughter of Buddhist monks last year, fear is effective.

A nuclear Burma…that will get the world’s attention and if they play it right, as does North Korea, and they can leverage that nuclear capability into all sorts of concessions from the West and neighboring countries as well. Such has proven over the years a pretty successful means to keep despots in power.

coldwarrior on July 3, 2009 at 10:55 PM

Add Laos to the mix, and it looks like NK is vying to establish a Kim Chong-il NK-style Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. (If you’ve heard that term a long time ago…was a biggie in East Asia politics right before Pearl Harbor.)

coldwarrior on July 3, 2009 at 11:15 PM

coldwarrior on July 3, 2009 at 10:55 PM

My daughter in law is Burmese, born and raised in Rangoon.

Oldnuke on July 4, 2009 at 9:45 AM

coldwarrior on July 3, 2009 at 11:15 PM

Only this time China’s pulling the strings not Japan.

Oldnuke on July 4, 2009 at 9:48 AM