Friday 24 January 2020

Photos reveal Burma's plans for nuclear weapons

Alex Spillius in Washington

Burma is working on a nuclear weapons programme, experts have concluded, after its existence was exposed by leaked photographs.

Intelligence monitoring of the country's arms purchases from North Korea has been intensified as a result.

Concerns over the regime's attempts to develop a nuclear bomb prompted the US State Department to demand last week that the ruling junta disclose an inventory of its nuclear technology.

Secret documents and hundreds of photographs smuggled out of the country by a defector indicated that it was intent on developing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

'Jane's Intelligence Review', a monthly journal on military intelligence, published a separate batch of photographs showing similar activities in buildings near the capital, Naypyidaw.

There have been fears that Burma had joined a clandestine nuclear network linking North Korea, Iran, Pakistan and Syria, but there had not been hard evidence until now.

Robert Kelley, an American former senior weapons inspector with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the evidence was the most compelling yet.

"They are either trying to make reactor fuel, which they could buy for nothing from another country or they are trying to make a weapon clandestinely. There isn't much point doing that unless it's for a bomb," said Mr Kelly.

He added: "The quality of workmanship is extremely poor and their expertise is poor. I am not saying that this is a nuclear weapons programme that is about to scare us tomorrow but the intent to build nuclear weapons is much more clear now." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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