US senator puts off Myanmar visit over alleged N-deal
A US Senator has decided to postpone a two-day visit to Myanmar to begin today until further clarifications are made about two recent allegations of arms and nuclear links between Myanmar and North Korea.Updated: Jun 04, 2010 14:02 IST
A US Senator has decided to postpone a two-day visit to Myanmar to begin on Friday until further clarifications are made about two recent allegations of arms and nuclear links between Myanmar and North Korea.
At a press conference in Bangkok Jim Webb said it would be inappropriate and might be counterproductive to visit Myanmar before the two allegations are examined.
"I still strongly believe that a continuation of dialogue between the United States and the government of Burma is very important for the balance in this region and in the encouragement of the opening up of political process.
"A productive dialogue is only achievable in an environment where we don't have these other issues that are so outstanding," Webb said.
Webb cited an initial allegation by US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell last month that there was a suspected shipment of arms from North Korea to Myanmar, but added he had not received any clarification from the US State Department or from other countries.
The senator also received a report detailing an allegation by a defecting officer from the Myanmar military that Myanmar has engaged in a nuclear programme with North Korea.
Webb said, "I do not know the validity of this information, but at the same time I think there is enough in these two allegations of Burmese involvement with North Korea and potentially with a nuclear programme. There is enough need to be resolved that it would be inappropriate for me to be going into Burma at this time."
Webb said the report, some 100 pages long, needs to be examined.
The senator said he would suggest President Barack Obama appoint a special envoy to probe the allegations.
First Published: Jun 04, 2010 13:52 IST